Homecoming means coming home to what is in your heart. ~Author Unknown
You all know the saying there’s no place like home. Going home is always special. This trip back home was bittersweet. I had the honor of participating in my hometown Relay for Life event. I walked in memory of my brother who recently died of cancer. I witnessed my father walking the survivor lap. The best part was that I served on a team with my family. I spent the day with cousins I have loved forever but due to time and distance haven’t seen nearly often enough through the years.
We wanted to go fast like the Ricky Bobby car, but needless to say we didn’t. Our shoes didn’t have nearly as much rubber as those tires, and our motors didn’t rev like the car…maybe we should have tried gasoline instead of water and gatorade! However, I think most of us had sore feet the next day.
This event was in my hometown of Nelson County, and my team was “Cousins for a Cure”. We even had a racing theme because we know the cure for cancer can not be found quickly enough. Unfortunately, our family has been struck hard through the years with cancer.
I was thrilled to spend the say with my family. My Dirt Man walked with me. My parents attended, as well as my sister, her hubby, and youngest daughter. Her husband walked 60 laps which is equal to about fifteen miles. Though the rest of us walked a lot, none of us came near that distance.
This is me in the middle with two of my three sisters. The one on the right of your screen is a cancer survivor. Knowing that I have a father and sister who are survivors, and a brother who lost the battle makes it that much more important to me for a cure to be found. The bottom line is that cancer sucks! Any of you who have been affected by it know what I mean.
This is probably the first picture taken in years of the females in my family. This is me with my mother and all three of my sisters.This one has my father with us. We are missing my brother who was unable to attend as his daughter was graduating from law school that weekend. He was with us in spirit as we walked for our brother, Monte, and our many other family members.
This is my father walking the survivor lap with my friend of many years. It was such an honor that they were able to walk that lap together. We had a vial of my brother’s ashes for my dad to take on the survivor lap. It was heavy as it was in a marble container and weighed his pocket down, so he ended up not carrying it. I was gifted the priviledge to walk the caretakers walk with his ashes in my hand. I walked that lap for my mother as her health was not up to it. My sister who is a cancer survivor walked that lap with me instead of walking the survivor lap.
This is part of our team with many of our cousins. I think we had twenty-two members if I’m not mistaken. Our team raised over $5000. The county raised over $120,000 which is phenomenal for a small town. I am so proud of my family and my county. Relay in itself is an emotional experience, but being with the people you love (and have been touched by the same tragedies) escalates the emotions tenfold.
Dirt Man and I were delighted to meet up with many friends from our past. This is the husband of my best high school friend who died at the tender age of thirty-four. We had each walked in past relays in memory of Stephanie, but never the same relay.
The luminaria ceremony was breathtaking. It was a silent walk giving time for reflection of those who’ve lost the battle. It was especially touching with the bag pipes being played. I was chilled by Amazing Grace.
The luminare ballons were spectacular. Realize that this occured on the night that some group had claimed the rapture would occur. Can you imagine seeing these bright purple blinking lights flying through the sky and not knowing what they were if you were one of those people waiting for the world to end?
A special thank you to Nelson County for a wonderful event and to my cousins and family members for the honor of doing this together.
For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people’s love and
concern for each other. ~Millard Fuller