Participated in my first 5k marathon this past weekend. No, no I didn’t run—don’t be silly. I did walk fast, though, and that counts for something, right?
It was the annual Mind Over Matter Marathon, or better known as “MOM.” It’s been around for a while, twelve years, actually. The goal is to raise funds and awareness for the prevention of, and to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide. A cause that’s pretty near and dear to my heart, as you know.
I did it. The race is over and I crossed the finish line.
But I didn’t participate in any of the activities they had planned for afterward, didn’t stay to listen to the live band or enter to win any of the raffle drawings for some really cool prizes. I didn’t pick up one of the colored bracelets—each one signifying exactly how your life has been touched by suicide—either. Didn’t write my son’s name on any of the banners or the big paper hearts people were carrying around. Didn’t write a note and stick it to the giant M-O-M set up near the registration booth. I didn’t tell anyone my story; no one knew why I was there, other than to support a worthy cause.
I couldn’t. For one thing, I don’t want a badge that proclaims me as the mother of a suicide victim. I don’t want strangers to talk to me about it, even if they have had the same experience. Not because of the stigma, but because I don’t want to.
I don’t want to deal with that reality. I can’t stand the fact that other mothers have gone through what I went through—am going through. It makes my heart hurt knowing there are so many people suffering in this world.
I also can’t talk about it. I’m not there yet. Hell, I spend half my sessions with my therapist dancing around the subject because I hate it. I hate talking about it because that makes it even more real, brings it to the surface, forces me to acknowledge it. And acknowledging it generally makes me cry, and I don’t like crying and certainly not in public.
And ultimately, talking about it makes me wish for something I can’t have: My son.
Despite all this, I’m glad I participated. There’s a definite sense of accomplishment to completing a 5k, even if you’re a walker. And this organization promotes a worthy cause. Maybe, just maybe, the work they do will save a life or a few. Maybe another family will be made aware early enough, and someone else’s son will live out his life the way he’s supposed to. Maybe. I hope so.
Tami Lund is an author, wine drinker, award winner, and now, apparently, marathon walker. She also believes in supporting worthy causes because if they can save even one life, it’s worth it.
Check out her website for other stuff she writes. You know, like books: http://tamilund.com