Sunday, April 27th, 2008 was The Perfect Day.
I woke up and checked our team fundraising site and we had hit our huge goal of $10,000. Brian and I quickly got ready, we woke the kids, we ate breakfast in the car, we pulled into the March of Babies parking lot. (by the way, today Team James & Jake is at $10,660 – you can still donate. Something tells me we’ll hit $11,000.)
The March of Dimes reserved a parking spot for us because we were the #1 Friends and Family team.
As we drove through the lot, (because we missed our close parking space the first time around) I looked around and saw many faces that I love, getting out of their cars, getting ready for this day. My heart started to melt seeing these people.
I met Stacie, a fellow blogger, Stacie who I had never met in person, Stacie who felt compelled to walk with us and raise money for this cause. I am in awe of Stacie.
Before I knew it, our entire team was there, with our shirts on. These shirts that I love so much I can hardly take it. Every time I saw a shirt, which was often with almost thirty walkers, my heart skipped a beat. Thank you, Amy – my neighbor, my friend, for getting these shirts donated to us. I think you are awesome.
The director of the event approached me and told me that Team James & Jake would be leading the walk. Pride & disbelief is what felt.
Before the walk, at nine in the morning, inside the concrete building there was a joyous celebration taking place. Hundreds of people celebrating love, life, family and babies. Music, food and clowns added to the exciting atmosphere.
The six mile walk was ready to begin, Team James & Jake and all of the other walkers gathered outdoors to begin the long journey ahead, once again, Team James & Jake was announced with our amazing fundraising accomplishment over the loud speaker. Loud cheers came from the crowd, in my head and in my heart I could not fathom that people were cheering after hearing the names of our twin sons. I could not fathom that WE, my family, my friends were at this event because of James and Jake. I felt a strange mixture of elation and sadness.
We started off the walk – Team James and Jake in our shirts – we started walking and a wave of emotion swept over me, sadness really, the gravity of it all dipping deep into my soul. But soon, as has been the case in the past nine weeks, my family and my friends were there to put a band-aid over the hurt.
As I promised, in the silent moments of this six mile walk, I thought about James, Jake, Lydia, Jonathon, Grace and Allison Jane. I thought about all of the amazing Mommies who have e-mailed me privately telling me about their personal losses. I thought about all of you – I walked for you, too.
After an hour and forty-five minutes of walking, we were done. I was so hungry and my foot hurt, but I swear to you, I would have walked for twenty more miles if that’s what we set out to do. As much as I wish I could take James and Jake and hold them and squeeze them and kiss their beautiful lips or smell their sweet baby breath, or comfort them or fold their laundry, I can’t and never will in this lifetime, but for my beautiful sons, who have taught me so much in just nine agonizing weeks, I would walk forever for them. And I will walk for them again.
Yesterday I experienced a day that honored my boys, a day with family, a day with friends, a day with hugs, a day that held moments of multiple friends whispering I love you in my ear, a day filled with pride, a day filled with a reflection, a day where I know there were hundreds of people remembering James & Jake. It was the perfect day.
It is now that the emotion overcomes me, the tears fall quickly from my eyes, the day after the walk when I think about ALL OF THE LOVE that has filled our lives since that tragic day on February 26th, 2008 – the donations, the flowers, the cards, the dinners, the McDonald’s gift cards, the e-mails, the comments, the prayers, the thoughts – I know we are loved and I thank you for it. We feel your love. I thank James and Jake for giving us the gift of love, life and insight.
The tears may be flowing, but so is the love. The pain hurts so bad, but the love feels so good.
Starting the walk. (photo by Crooked Eyebrow)
Left to right – my sister Sarah, me, my mom, my niece’s boyfriend, my niece, Amber, my sister, Amy. (photo by CE)
Crooked Eyebrow and I
My girls. Crooked Eyebrow and Milk & Honey.
Dancing girls – CE and Lynette
Brian and I. Brian has raised OVER $2,600. I am SO proud of him. (photo by CE)
Why we walk. (photo by Dad F.)
Leading the way.
Proud Grandparents (photo by CE)