Remembering Macy at the OC Walk to Remember
I’m not sure exactly what I expected at the OC Walk to Remember. In all honesty, it felt a bit surreal. This was the first time Scott and I participated in the walk. In the year after Macy died, our sadness was still too fresh for us to participate, and in the subsequent years, there was always something else going on. However, whereas in previous years, I may have approached the walk with trepidation, on Saturday morning, I was bubbling with excitement to be able to share Special Delivery with so many people. Part of it was the fact that I had so much support surrounding me—as has been the case in every step of my journey—and I looked around at all my extended family and friends in a sea of light blue Team Macy shirts, ready to pass out books, share a moment, or take those steps for Macy.
The walk itself was wonderful. The memorial ceremony was moving and heartfelt and I could see so much love amongst the heartache in each family that walked up to receive a rose in honor of their baby. The overwhelming feeling that I walked away with was such a sense of community and acceptance and camaraderie in the face of so much loss. We have each walked a different path of grief, yet we have also walked the same pathway at the same time.
I met so many people who raved about the book and how much they felt it would help their family directly, or the families of loved ones. I also met many newly-grieving families and sometimes the moments were hard. It really made me think about myself just three and a half years ago. Though I knew ahead of time that Macy would die, my grief struck me in such a shocking and all-encompassing way. I saw so much of myself, especially in one mom who lost her son just three months ago—she kept saying how much she wanted to go back in her car and go home. She was very emotional, and standing by her side, grieving just as much, was her loving husband, his arm around her providing both strength and comfort. Yes, I did see them as me and Scott. And while I also know how hard that time was for us, I am so grateful for all of the support we have had from our family and friends.
In the year after Macy died, Kat and I would go often to the cemetery to visit her. Kat would run around on the grass and play, most times wearing her Belle costume, bringing a smile to all the other visitors there. After the OC Walk to Remember and after going to the pumpkin patch with her girl scout troop, Kat and I went to visit Macy. (Yes, it was a very long day.) In the waning late afternoon sun, we had a picnic with just the three of us—Kat and I eating chips and drinking Icees while telling Macy about the walk. I could see how we as a family have truly come full circle, how we have healed (though we still sometimes grieve), how we are stronger, and how now we are making a difference in other peoples’ lives.
I am so grateful for those people who make such a difference in mine.
There’s a saying that you shouldn’t to judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Well, unfortunately we’ve walked this mile and more. It hit me most that while everyone grieves in their own way, there are still some commonalities in what happens when you grieve for the loss of a child. Several weeks ago I was talking to a friend who had another friend who also lost a baby. What struck me most was how she said her friend “just wasn’t the same anymore” in the context of how strong I have been throughout the past several years. I countered her statement with “I’m not the same anymore either.” And I’m not. I’m a different person than I was before my pregnancy with Macy. There’s a fundamental shift that occurs with losing your child, someone who is supposed to outlive you. Yes, I’ve walked that mile. And yes, I feel so blessed to have survived that walk, and am privileged to be able to help other families in their own journey of grief and remembrance.