Today I walked with 80+ people. Many I knew well and others I had only met for the first time. But, we all shared something in common — a friend, a nephew, a cousin, a son, a brother, a boy — Noah. Our shirts said “Team Noah – Forever 16.” And that is how we all will remember him.
White doves were released before the Second Wind Fund walk…one in memory of Noah. They all flew straight out skimming beautifully above our heads as we froze in awe and in silence. All except one. One took its own path, circling to the left and going the opposite way. For some reason it drew my complete attention. The others flew together and the crowd watched as they shimmered and danced together in the clear blue sky. The lone dove climbed on its own airstream and looped around the outdoor stage. I watched as it gracefully moved and danced to its own rhythm before finally joining the others. Noah. That’s all I could think of — that was Noah.
My husband was 17 when he lost his father to suicide. The loss doesn’t end. The questions never end. Forever 17 — yes, forever.
If I’ve learned something from suicide, it is never to hesitate to be there for a friend, a loved one, a stranger… even if sometimes our best efforts are in vain. Noah’s parents are a model of that kind of unconditional love, effort, and devotion.
Our children need us, our parents need us, our friends need us, our world needs us. I am so sad for the loss of Noah. I am so sad watching his family grieve and how helpless I am to comfort them. I am so grateful for the community of people I walked with today. Sometimes all we can do is walk together.