I have been tossing and turning all night because I am still sick and because today is the day of the Fair!
I hardly believe it.
Last night I met in person for the first time the group of people who have rallied to my call and have helped me put this thing together.
Self conscious I walked to Alexander Holley Plaza, Washington Square Park; sitting on a bench, with her younger brother, was Rayo. I recognized her because a few months ago she had sent me a picture of herself. Smiling I walked toward her; when she saw me she too broke into a smile, stood up from the bench, took the remaining steps toward me and we hugged.
How many times I had ended my emails to her and the others I was about to meet with “hugs”, now we were hugging for real. Reluctantly at first, Rayo had been my first volunteer recruit. I was so proud to have her here with me, ready to stand shoulder to shoulder at our Suicide Awareness & Prevention Fair.
You see, up until now, Rayo had not been comfortable talking openly about the fact that her beloved son Michael, had by suicide. Not many people in her community knew, and now, here she was, wearing a Break-The- Silence wrist band for all the world to see.
We sat for a moment, not sure what to say in person that we hadn’t already said to each other by email.
“I’m still not sure where to put the alternative healing area,” I said after a moment of silence.
“There is nobody on the grass,” I continued, “And I was counting on being able to spread out onto the grass. I wonder what those signs say. Let’s go and take a look,” I suggested.
To my relief the notices said that the grass had been watered and to keep off until that night, which meant that come today, we can go on the grass.
Rayo, my husband and I were walking this way and that trying to decide where to put the tent that would serve as the base for the alternative healing team, when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to see an attractive, smiling face looking at me.
“Debra?” I said.
“Susan,” she said.
“Oh Susan, from Seattle. This is Susan from Seattle” I said to the others before Susan and I hugged.
It is a bit strange when people know what you look like while you don’t know what they look like.
Then Melissa came, she looked younger in person than in her Facebook picture.
Brilliant girl, she’s been my right hand putting this whole thing together, and here she was, standing in front of me for the first time since we “met.”
I wanted Hugh to take pictures, but of course after standing for a while waiting for the camera to click, we discovered that the memory card was full.
“There will be a professional photographer tomorrow, I said, putting the camera back in my handbag.
We waited and waited for Debra and Jenna to arrive, but in the end we decided to make our way to the restaurant, and there they were.
Debra too has been of enormous practical help, and over the course of many emails I got an idea of her sense of humor and light personality.
Then Akil, one of my daughter’s best friends and a gifted rapper, arrived and our group, that is, the group getting together last night, was complete.
Sitting toward one end of the table, I kept looking around at everybody, amazed that these women had jumped on a plane to be physically present at the Fair with me.
Okay to be continued, I have to get up now, shower and get dressed because guess what, we have a Fair today, the very first: Get Your Wellness On – Suicide Awareness & Prevention Fair.
But before that, with Dr. Weng who arrives this morning from California, and a small group that includes a student who was greatly affected by Andrew’s death and the University’s shove-it-under-the-carpet attitude, are going to Bobst, where Andrew died.
We will go up to the floor from where he jumped and pray. Pray for him, my beloved son, and for the others who preceded him. We will pray also that the preying energy of death leaves the place.
If I am compos mentis I will write tomorrow and let you know how it all went.