After the 2020 pandemic year when the AFSP Out of the Darkness Manhattan walk was cancelled (well, it was “virtual”), AFSP restarted their OOTD walks this year, and the Manhattan one was located again at Pier 16 downtown. I actually raised more money this year than I did last year, which I wasn’t sure about since this is the eighth year I’ve done this, and sometimes people get donation fatigue, but this year I did decently well. The walk had a pretty good turnout for the crowd, larger than I had imagined, but it was less involved: they ran out of t-shirts by the time I arrived, so they said they’d be mailing me one. A lot of the previous booths that were set up weren’t there this time. No snacks or drinks were provided, either, but I didn’t really miss that anyway. It’s always one of those sad but empowering events every year for me. It’s sad to see how many people have lost loved ones from all walks of life at these events, but it’s at the same time inspiring to see people who actually care and want to make a difference for people suffering today and in the future.
It’s been eight years since I lost Ed. Every year that passes, I get farther and farther away from remembering what he was like, what his voice sounded like, what his being was about. But I still try hard to remember. This event seemed different for me personally though, because at this event, little Pookie Bear came along, too, snuggled up inside my womb. This year, she walked for her uncle’s honor and memory. And next year, I hope she will be able to come, too, in her stroller that her dad will push, to continue Uncle Ed’s legacy in her life.