Today was a big day for a lot of people in the Chicago area.
For many it was a chance to chase their dream of running 26.2 miles in the Chicago Marathon or support loved ones who were attempting such an awesome feat.
For those of us who have been spectators in the past, it was bittersweet not to be there in person to cheer for family and friends as they kept pace for 40K +. However watching highlights on TV this morning and following some of those running through the Chicago Marathon’s awesome website, I was able to feel a closer connection to the runners whom were on my mind and in my prayers throughout the day.
I am so very proud of my loved ones who ran those 26.2 miles today again or for the first time, as well as those who tried and were unable to finish for various reasons. It is a huge accomplishment to train for a marathon and though I can only imagine how upsetting it would be to come so far and not make it to the finish line, I do believe that joy is found in the journey and hope those who didn’t achieve their goal today still know how awesome they are to have worked so hard and showed up today with the desire and determination to run a marathon.
For a smaller group today was an opportunity to gather to Walk to Remember our babies, during this Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, who left this world too soon.
This was my family and my fifth Walk to Remember Molly and Babies Benson. It was held at a different location than in previous years, due to construction being done at the place we have gathered in the past. It felt a bit weird to be at a new park, when I associate Walking to Remember elsewhere, however it was still a moving and beautiful time to be with Bob, Sean, Abby, other bereaved parents, siblings and loved ones who are grieving the loss of their babies, whether it has been a few months, a few years or as many as 18 years (as a woman who spoke today shared).
Today at the walk instead of doing a balloon release (which has been our tradition in the past), due to the shortage on helium, we got to choose stones in honor and memory of our babies (as their names were read allowed by the facilitator of our Caring Connections perinatal support group), write their names on the stones and have them blessed by a chaplain from Advocate Christ Medical Center who ministers to those who have lost babies. Then our Perinatal Bereavement Support Coordinator released a single yellow balloon with the names of all of our babies attached on a sheet of paper. It was a beautiful way to end our Walk to Remember this year.
Here Abby is holding the stones that Sean picked out and that I wrote on in honor and memory of our Molly and Babies Benson. This picture represents so much to me about the journey that led our family to our daughter Abby and everything we went through trying to have another child and give our son Sean a sibling. I love knowing that Molly and Babies Benson will always be remembered in our family and that our living children will always know who came in between them.