I remember being home watching the weather like a hawk scans the sky for prey. I kept thinking how could the report of a strong nor-easter possibly be true as I sat feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin.
The next morning I woke to a gray day. I felt the weather was mimicking my soul as my husband said goodbye at the train station. I could feel the wind beginning to strengthen as I stood on the platform with my friend who decided she wanted to brave the weather after hearing me try to explain the impact of the memorial ceremony to others when there really are no words that could describe the slap to your heart as you stood amongst the angels.
So here we were the three of us sitting together on the train heading to D.C. to be among those involved in bringing awareness to the pandemic that continues to destroy families and lives. You see, Nicole lost her husband last year and is now a single mom to her beautiful daughter, Chloe.
As the train sped toward our destination, I could feel my anxiety growing. Memories flooded my brain of my first trip to D.C. 9 months after losing my son, Matt in 2015. How naive I was then thinking this epidemic would never continue. I truly believed that losing 42,000 people in 2015 would be enough for those in power to shut down the Pharmaceutical Companies responsible for the carnage. That lawmakers and doctors would be punished for their part in this terrible tragedy that created a disease of massive proportions.
As we arrived at Union Station I felt a calm beginning to settle my heart. I felt like I was where I was meant to be.
Walking into the Yotel was like coming home after a long absence. Hearing my name and being surrounded by other mamas who’s faces were so familiar yet now they were in my space and we shared moments of joy mixed with grief as we wrapped each other up in warm, loving hugs.
Our eyes all reflecting a similar emotion. No one wanted to be here, but because our hearts were shattered by loss we knew we had to be here to let the country know our children continue to live through us.
The storm was kind to us on Friday allowing our activities to continue as planned. First the DOJ rally. The power of being among so many incredible advocates was palpable. The energy flowed through the crowd. Our chants stopped passerby’s who asked what we were doing. I was proud to tell Matt’s story as they listened and offered condolences and compassion. Sharing their lives had also been touched by this tragedy.
My friend Jen gave a powerful speech telling her story of Christopher as I listened I was moved to tears. So many who’s stories shared similarities of hope and heartbreak.
Friday night Susans vigil was held at Union Square. Once again we came together as one body of broken people holding on to each other as stories were shared. I was blessed to share Matt’s story with the crowd. Candles were glowing in the dark representing the lives of our loved ones whose
lights we will never allow to burn out.
I could hear the rain and wind before I got out of bed Saturday morning. Ophelia obviously had no idea who she was dealing with as she pummeled D.C. with all her force. A group had gathered outside our room accessing what we were up against. We laughed out loud knowing that we had all walked through hell and survived.
A group of us gathered for breakfast holding our rain gear and making plans to brave the storm. There was no way we were going to allow this storm to stop us from being among our angels.
I tried to prepare my friend for the impact but I knew from experience there truly are no words. I watched her walk among the Delaware people searching for her husbands stone. Tears falling as she held her daughter’s hand looking for Daddy. Our eyes met and I knew she felt it. I knew the impact found her soul ripping it apart once again. The sky opened up as we both searched, her for Walt, me for Matt. I knew there was no way we were giving up in spite of high winds and heavy rain.
Finding Matt, seeing his handsome face stopped me in my tracks. I felt like the earth beneath my feet split open. I prayed for it to swallow me, to take me to a place where grief could never find me. To give me a reprieve from this excruciating pain that had become my life. I heard a guttural cry escape from my soul. I felt arms wrapping around me as another mom heard and came to hold me up. Never could I have anticipated my response. The rawness of the grief.
I knew I was spent. I wanted to run. Then I saw my friends face and knew she found her husband. She knew. I knew. We were both experiencing, living the impact our team had hoped for when forming the Trail of Truth.
Saying goodbye Sunday morning was tough. I felt surrounded by those who get me. I felt like we were all kindred spirits finding each other again.
I still have found no words to describe the feeling when you walk among angels. As we boarded the train to Delaware my friend leaned over and said you were right. No words……..💔💔