Today was the day of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Manhattan Walk. Over 900 people registered to walk and fund raise for this event, and while $160,000 was the original target goal, we collectively raised over $171,000 as of this morning. Of that, my fundraising campaign made up $2,365 of that. When I originally set my $1,000 goal, I wasn’t sure I’d even hit that amount, but to know now that the goal has been met 235% still overwhelms me.
During the walk today, it felt comforting to meet other people who have shared in the pain that my family and I have experienced in losing Ed. It was incredible to hear how passionate people are years and years after losing their loved ones about how they want to help others and continue raising money and awareness. Even after months, years, and decades of a loss, the pain will always be there. The void will still persist, especially in moments and days when the the next great victory or tragedy occurs. Some days are easier than others as they say.
I don’t want this to be a one-time event for me, though. I want to continue helping the cause and keep Ed’s memory alive. I can’t keep him alive, but I can keep his memory alive in me and what I do. Honestly, I wish I didn’t have to do any of this. I wish he were still here. I wish he were here and healthy and happy and independent and living a good life. But maybe he served his purpose in life and felt it was finally his time to peace out, and in leaving, it had to serve up a lesson to me, as well.
There were a number of moments I had today, listening to other people speak to me, listening to the chatter around me and seeing the big fundraising sign with my name on it as one of the top donors, where I could feel my face get hot and my eyes begin to water because this entire event was so overwhelming, yet oddly comforting. Seeing a big sign waiting for me that read “In Honor of Edward Y. Wong” was yet another reminder to me that yes, Ed isn’t here. He’s dead. That’s why you are doing this. This is all real. It still hurts, and I hate seeing his name anywhere near anything that is about death. But it’s my reality that I have to face, and the only healthy way I’m going to continue dealing with my pain is by making it into something that can help others, and hopefully make him proud of me — wherever he may be now.