Walk, talk, light a can­dle to honor your loved ones

Centre Daily Times (Sunday) - - Explore - BY EVE­LYN WALD

In 2002 Ni­cholas Sparks wrote the novel, “A Walk to Re­mem­ber.” It was a ro­man­tic story about the com­ing of age. Last week­end, I walked in an event to sup­port re­search for and cre­ate aware­ness about chronic fa­tigue and dysau­tono­mia. Rowe’s Re­search Run­ners raised more than $20,000 at this, their sec­ond an­nual event.

The fall months tend to be packed with op­por­tu­ni­ties to walk for aware­ness, to honor or re­mem­ber loved ones that have or still are bat­tling with health is­sues or other im­por­tant con­cerns.

This week, I saw folks gath­ered to walk to end Alzheimer’s. We’re all fa­mil­iar with or­ga­ni­za­tions that of­fer us these kinds of op­por­tu­ni­ties.

I have walked in Cen­tre Safe’s (for­merly the Cen­tre County Women’s Re­source Cen­ter) Steps to Safety. I’ve walked in all but one Out of the Dark­ness Walk spon­sored by the Amer­i­can Foun­da­tion for Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion, where I walk to memo­ri­al­ize my mom.

I’ve walked in Re­lays for Life to sup­port breast can­cer re­search and cures for too many friends and fam­ily mem­bers who have died or sur­vived. I’ve walked for mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy, HIV/ AIDS and for many other causes.

Many have walked miles for a cause. Many walk to honor, re­mem­ber and even cel­e­brate the lives of loved ones who have died, hop­ing more treat­ments and cures will erad­i­cate these dis­eases.

We walk to­gether with oth­ers who have had peo­ple we love bat­tle dis­eases or die. We walk to­gether to know we are not alone. We might even talk to to­tal strangers who may un­der­stand our feel­ings bet­ter than some­one who has not been through a sim­i­lar bat­tle or loss.

There is a sense of unity and com­mu­nity when we come to­gether.

Also at this time of the year, cul­tures have cre­ated spe­cial hol­i­days to re­mem­ber their de­ceased loved ones. We have All Hal­lows’ Eve, Hal­loween, All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day and Dia de los Muertes to name a few that will oc­cur later this month and in early Novem­ber.

Nov. 15 marks Chil­dren’s Grief Aware­ness Day to re­mem­ber young chil­dren and teens that have lost par­ents, sib­lings, grand­par­ents and oth­ers. Wear blue that day to help raise aware­ness and re­mem­ber a child or teen you know that is griev­ing.

World AIDS Day is Dec. 1 — spon­sored by Com­pas­sion­ate Friends, it’s a chance to join oth­ers around the world by lighting a can­dle for par­ents who have lost chil­dren. The pos­si­bil­i­ties go on and on.

The theme of all these walks, spe­cial days and hol­i­days are about cre­at­ing times and ways to re­mem­ber, honor and cel­e­brate our loved ones. Their lives mat­ter. We want to share mem­o­ries and sto­ries and join to­gether with oth­ers who love and sup­port us. There are count­less ways to re­mem­ber and honor loved ones. It could be as sim­ple as en­joy­ing their fa­vorite meal to­gether. Some have cre­ated schol­ar­ships, spe­cial events, planted trees. The list is end­less but the pur­pose is the same: to re­mem­ber our loved ones and share their life sto­ries in ways that honor them.

What­ever your be­liefs, what­ever the cause, you can pause now or later to re­mem­ber and honor those spe­cial peo­ple that have died. They have im­pacted our lives and we want to re­mem­ber them.

Maybe you’ll do “a walk to re­mem­ber” or just sit around with fam­ily and friends and share sto­ries. Maybe you’ll en­gage in spe­cial ac­tiv­i­ties like those of Dia de los Muertes and dec­o­rate graves with flow­ers or at­tend a re­li­gious ser­vice of re­mem­brance.

So, walk on, talk on, sing on, what­ever brings mean­ing to you and your loved ones. But do re­mem­ber, honor, and cel­e­brate their lives, their lega­cies, and the love that re­mains for­ever.

Eve­lyn Wald is a li­censed pro­fes­sional coun­selor with the In­di­vid­ual and Fam­ily CHOICES Pro­gram in State Col­lege. This col­umn is co­or­di­nated by www.ltl­wys.org, whose mis­sion is to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­ter­gen­er­a­tional ex­changes on loss, grief, growth, and trans­for­ma­tion.

Cen­tre Daily Times, file

Fall months in Cen­tre County tend to be packed with op­por­tu­ni­ties to walk for aware­ness.

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