Sunday, October 16, 2011

Walk to Remember 2011

This year's Walk to Remember at Fallasburg Park held on October 8, 2011 was absolutely beautiful! In years past, we have walked in rain, snow, and bitter winds. This year it was nothing but clear skies, sunshine, and warm weather which was truly an Indian summer treat and a blessing to all of us walking! This walk is dedicated to all babies born to miscarriage, stillbirth, and neo-natal death. It is the perfect way for us to kick off our memorial week for Elise as we make extra special time to remember her in the season she was born each year.

This years walk was a little different for Rob and I due to a change in the weekend it fell on. It has always been scheduled for the first Saturday of October to help families plan to attend each year if they wish to do so. Rob and I had it marked on our calender as tradition to attend together and volunteer if need be. Then Rob made his hunting plans for the rest of October per his usual. He was set to be out of  town for the second weekend to hunt at the cabin and to spend time with old buddies at a friend's cabin prior to receiving notice of the change. As a result of this schedule conflict, I was planning to volunteer and attend solo. Despite Rob's absence there is nowhere else I would rather be than walking in honor of Elise and for all the steps in life she will not take.

My dearest friend, Alison, was also attending without her husband this year so we teamed up together and volunteered at the t-shirt table. Her friendship is the greatest gift I have received in the abscess of my daughter. A friendship grown through grief is one that will last a lifetime!

Volunteering in memory of Elise Renee!

This year Alison gave me a beautiful necklace to remember Elise by that is very unique and I love it so much! It is etched with the latitude and longitude for Butterworth Hospital. The location I said "goodbye" to Elise until I will see her again. What a wonderful conversation piece this is on top of it being pretty. I can't wait to explain it to anyone who is curious enough to ask about it. Thanks Alison for a gift that allows me to talk about my firstborn daughter!

I love the cabin at this walk. Families can gather inside after registration and enjoy coffee and cookies. It's a great place to meet each other and share stories of the babies we are walking for. Here are all of the balloon's getting ready to be sent to Heaven!!!

I feel strongly about not taking Ava to this walk until she is old enough to understand what the walk means. I have so few days in a year to fully dedicate to Elise that I am not willing to let my second love, Ava, distract me. Not only that but there are couples at the walk who not only have lost children but are told they will never have a living child for genetic reasons. How hard is that to bear? So I feel like it isn't really a little kid event... So, my wonderful mother offered to sit this year out to watch Ava for me. Thanks MOM! It seemed weird attending without having any family there but I know I am supported and Elise is remembered with or without their attendance.

To my surprise, my brother Todd, came! I truly love my family and thank God everyday for them. It just goes to show how lucky I am to be a "Barron." We are together through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Stuck with each other no matter where life takes us. Supporting each other through the tough days and being thankful for all the good days. I have to believe that my Dad and Elise are so proud of us for sticking it out together. Family is truly a BLESSING!

Toddzie & Me...

I always like to get a crowd shot to capture the number of people walking. Each person represents a baby and a story of loss. It's so touching to be at this walk and to know I am not alone in my grief. 

This year I met, Ryan & Joy Umlor. They are a couple who received a suitcase I put together in memory of Elise in January 2010 when they lost their daughter, Isabel Joy. It was so wonderful to meet them in person as we shared a hug and a moment in memory of our daughters. One more reason to affirm that the time and money Rob and I spend in donations to honor Elise's life is very worthwhile and that it does touch good people in need. As a result of receiving our suitcase they donated suitcase's this January on their daughter's first birthday in Heaven. Talk about paying it forward!!! Knowing this truly warms my heart and fills my spirit with the hope that Elise's memory lives on in the hearts of so many.

If you could pick your family I would definitely pick Kris to be in mine. She has been the best Bestie a girl could ask for. Just when you think you are solo in come the troops for reinforcement! She has been at every walk for Elise right along with me. I am honored to call her my friend and so thankful for her support. Thank you so much for the blankets you donated to Memory Blankets on behalf of Elise. I love you Kris like the sister I never had!

Krissy-Baby and Me...

Alison & I... 
We miss our daughters, Annika & Elise, more than we could possibly describe!

The Balloon Release for Elise...

So many love notes to Heaven... What a healing moment!

Finally, I send out a special thanks to Chris and Terri Seastrom for taking over the walk in memory of their son who past away in 2007. As the torch was passed from Renee Sangsland to your family, the 25th annual Walk to Remember was able to continue this year. The walk was a success thanks to all of your dedication and organization of this event. What a wonderful way to honor your son's life. Thanks again and I already look forward to next year.

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