UNION CITY, Ind. — “SOUL Walk 2015 was the best one yet,” said Darla Bowman, who started the support group four years ago. “The love and friendship I witnessed yesterday makes every tear less painful. Coming together to honor those we’ve loved and lost is so hard, yet so healing.”
She was talking about the event which took place Sunday at Harter Park in Union City, Indiana.
The weather cooperated and lots of people showed up to make this another eventful day for Survivors of Unspeakable Loss (SOUL).
New this year were the chicken/pork chops meals that were prepared by Paul Mueller and served two hours prior to the walk, as well as a balloon release at the Union City Cemetery during the walk.
“In July 2004, I losst my best friend to suicide, my mother,” said Bowman prior to the walk. “That day began this journey. In February 2012, I reache dout to a friend whose husband completed suicide. Then began our planning for the Out of Darkeness Walk, with more than $2,000 raised for suicide and more than 470 people participating. I was approached by the committee to reach out to others for other than suicide, and we opened it to anyone grieving a loss and SOUL was born.”
She went on, “I am missing today my husband Ben who was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 2012. He was told he’d needed a transplant before last year’s SOUL Walk, but he was here to help. He fought gallantly for 51 days after the transplant. We had such a great bond and did everything together. Now he is gone forever. Life as I knew it was over. The past 233 days haven’t changed me. I’m not the same person I was, and I know Ben is at peace with his parents and my parents. Ben will forever be a part of me and my family. Today celebrates Ben’s life as will many others along with my cousin, who died Rhonda who died last Tuesday after a motorcycle accident.”
She went on to tell the group that she has met someone new in David Miller and that she knows Ben would be happy for her.
Miller also spoke, “I thank everyone who came here to honor loved ones who’ve passed on. I have big shoes to fill in Ben,and I will do my best to honor him and to fill his shoes. Each one here is honoring a loved one who is always forever in our hearts and minds. We’re here to support one another with shoulders to cry on and hands to hold on to. Our main strength comes from God. He is there at the midnight hour when death occurs. Everyone, today think about the good times. Don’t reflect on the ways they leave this world. No more pain; no sorrow.”
Bowman then invited those in attendance to attend these family gatherings at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Pizza Hut in Union City.
(Editor’s note: This is the first in a nine-part series on the SOUL Walk that was held Sunday in Harter Park.)