Saturday marked the 4 month anniversary of when we lost my baby brother, Lee. Nine months prior to that he had been diagnosed with viral congestive heart failure, and that diagnosis started me and my family on a journey. It was a journey of knowledge, of discovery, and of love. It was a journey that frequently left us with more questions than answers and with tears of joy, frustration and eventually, of loss.
There were days when things looked wonderful – when we knew that all was going to be okay – and then came the day when we realized that things would never be the same again.
One foot in front of the other and continue on with the journey.
This weekend I literally put one foot in front of the other as I continued on my journey. My family participated in the American Heart Association’s Annual Heart Walk. There was no greater way to physically represent this journey than to walk a mile on behalf of my brother.
Let me stop a moment and give a huge THANK YOU to those that contributed to my fund raising efforts. There were times that I was stunned when I would get an email telling me who made a contribution. I tried not to have any hopes or expectations, but I figured that a couple of my friends would break down; imagine my surprise when I had friends and family members that I did not expect stepping up to the plate. I struggle to fund raise, always have, and this was not different. My jaw dropped when I hit $100, my mind was blown when I hit $200 and I was near tears at the generosity of my friends and family when I hit $275!! I have thanked each of you individually; however, I’m sure my words were inadequate. I can’t express to each of you how much I truly appreciated your generosity. An unexpected side benefit was that I got to know a little bit more about some of you, as you shared your story with me and the fact that you opened your heart in addition to your wallet gave me great comfort. Again, thank you.
Back to my journey! Friday night the family gathered at my parents house and we had dinner and picked up our shirts for the heart walk. We were walking with the local hospital, at which my mom works, and she had picked up our shirts and taken them home and customized them for us.
Saturday, very bright and very early, we were up and on our way downtown to the Stockyards.
From L-R: Mom, me, Roshonda holding Bella with her sons in front of and behind her, Amy holding Joshua, Dad, Sam, Mr. T, friends of Jayman and Samantha and ending with Jayman (not releasing names of the minors that I don’t have permission to!)
Before the walk started it was amazing to have people from the hospital come up to us and stop to talk about Lee. We might not have recognized each other, but they knew who Lee was. I had one nurse bring me to tears as she told us how much she enjoyed getting to know him while he was in the hospital. It was a very blessed moment.
And thus ends this chapter on my journey. Thank you to all of those who have walked with me, mentally, emotionally and physically. Even if I haven’t mentioned it – the support has been noticed and appreciated!
As this new chapter starts I look forward to you being there with me and I am so blessed to be part of your journey, too.