Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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October 9, 2012

Mourners gather for annual memorial service

AVON — "I wish you didn't have to be here," said the Rev. Ben Keckler to a small gathering of people Saturday morning at the Avon Town Hall Park.

They were there for Hendricks Regional Health's seventh annual Walk to Remember. The event commemorates the lives of children who have died at any age.

"We want to be as supportive of you in your journey as we possibly can," said Keckler, who directs HRH's pastoral care and chaplaincy program.

Families and couples braved cold temperatures to reflect on the lives of lost loved ones. They marked their memories with ribbons bearing their names that were pinned to a wreath. They also made tiny boats with their names written on them, which were sailed on the park's pond. Officials with the Plainfield Fire Territory later collected and returned them to the families.

"No matter how cold it is on the outside, you know your heart's been warmed," Keckler said. "We want to pay attention to that. It's our full intention to give honor to each of you in your journey."

He added that while the grief does eventually get better with time, that's not really what the grieving process should be about. Rather, it's dealing with each of the changes that happen in life.

Along the way, Keckler says everyone experiences varying emotions and it's OK to be mad and/or sad.

"If you're trying to figure it out, good luck," he said. "Most things in life can't be. 'Why?' That's the greatest unanswered question in life."

Ultimately, Walk to Remember is meant to show mourners there are many others sharing their experience.

"You're not alone, even though there are many times when you'll feel that way," Keckler said. "There's a whole army of folks who understand your pain - even if your pain is ultimately different from theirs. What today is about is making sure you remember."

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