Roommate is home again. Jiggity jig!
She's already asleep and hopefully will remain under the sweet influence of Advil PM the whole darn night, as she got very little sleep last evening. It seems the people in charge of the park that hosted the 3-Day walkers' camp forgot to switch off the automatic sprinkling system. At 0330 today, tiny pink tents were filled with water and shrieking. Yes, two-thirds of the way through a sixty mile stroll, that's what I want to happen. I want to be ripped from exhausted, pain-filled slumber into an ice-cold shower. While still in my sleeping bag.
Fortunately, Roommate's tent was not one of those awash; she was merely sleeping next to the sounds of water and screaming. Strangely, she couldn't sleep through it. Go figure.
She did, however, make it through the walk for the third time. I made it to downtown Seattle in plenty of time to park the car, find her luggage, drag it back to the car and grab a seat in the stadium until the closing ceremony. And not too surprisingly, I was a sodden mess during said ceremony.
Much like the tents.
It kills me, that ceremony. They have the volunteer staff [in gray shirts] make an aisle leading into the field, and those people cheer as the participants do the victory walk in, all in white shirts. Then, after everyone is on the field and the music is blaring and people are waving at their friends and families in the stands, things quiet down. And a small group wearing pink shirts walk onto the field.
These are the survivors of breast cancer.
As they file in, the walkers salute them and their courage by each removing one of their own shoes and holding it high as the survivors fill the center of the field. A smaller group of survivors climb the steps to a round stage in the middle of the crowd and raise dark pink flags into holders around that stage, flags that read things like "Hope," "Commitment," "Optimism," "Healing," "Strength," "Belief" and "Love." After they raise the flag in the center, calling for the cure and the end of breast cancer, they join hands to form a circle, then raise their hands in victory. They have, after all, survived until today. One of the survivors had a little trouble making it up the steps today and as the other survivors realized it, they clustered around her to help her up the stairs and lift her flag into its spot. She made it, though. Up those stairs and into her circle.
I hesitate to say that I'm "proud of" anyone else's achievements. It always makes me feel like I'm taking credit for work I didn't do. I will say this, though. I'm proud to know Roommate. I'm proud that such a strong and committed woman calls me friend. I'm proud to live among people who will walk sixty miles in three days to raise 5.3 million dollars [that's $5,300,000.00, in case you needed to see it] to find a cure and to care for those battling this beastly disease until a cure is found.
Because everybody deserves a lifetime.