Despite the rain, more than 225 family members and friends gathered at the Stillwater Prairie Reserve in Covington, Ohio, on Sept. 29, walking in memory of their loved ones at the Fall River Walk Memorial. Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County hosted its annual Fall River Walk Memorial, which was an opportunity for families and friends to come together to remember their loved ones.
They walked about a mile along a limestone gravel path to the Stillwater River. As they arrived at the bank of the river, an eagle flew across it. John DeBoer played Native American flute music throughout the event.
At the bank of the river, Rev. Ed Ellis, MDiv., BCC, chaplain at Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County, offered healing words. “We are here to remember and honor some very precious people,” he said. “Perhaps you can recall a calm walk, hand in hand, or side by side, which you made with your loved one in such a place as this.”
He encouraged the walkers to remember their loved ones. “Be with the thoughts and feelings of your quieted soul as you pause here today,” he said. “Sorrow, grief, and mourning, these are the various ways we describe the worthy act of remembrance…Don’t be surprised if you might have moments of sadness and thankfulness that intersect and overlap. Along the way, you are wisely taking time to remember well.”
As he read the names of their loved ones, family members placed a flower in the Stillwater River. For some it was an emotional experience. For others, it was a healing moment in their grief process.
Kimberly Walker, bereavement counseling professional at Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County, said the not-for-profit hospice organization was pleased that so many people chose to honor their loved ones. “If you have lost someone close to you, this walk is an opportunity to remember and honor them along with your family members,” she said. “The rain reminded us of tears. But it also represented cleansing and healing.”
Walker praised the rangers from the Miami County Park District. They helped with parking and assisted people walking along the path. Before the event, they made sure the river was cleared of any debris and logs. “We appreciated the rangers from the Miami County Park District,” Walker said. “They were phenomenal as they ensured the safety of all of the walkers.