"How much are you charging for a full mask?"
"Nothing for this event."
"Really?" I ask. I've been charged everything from 3 to 15 bucks for all manner of face-painting styles. She was currently giving my daughter the full-on Frozen treatment, with an array of snowflakes dotting her forehead and cheeks.
"I never charge when I do the Run Because You Can Event. The family lost their son and he's a beautiful angel and I want to honor that, so I don't charge."
"You know the reason we come here every year is because I lost my son too and their story reminds me so much of my own."
"Bless you sweetheart."
I tipped her five bucks once she finished with my daughter's face.
That was my moment from this year's event. Usually the event is filled with so many more of them for me. Unfortunately, an injury had me side-lined this year so I didn't run it. I kept my eye out for the kid in the stroke-survivor shirt, but I didn't see him. I missed the bagpipe player because he was out on the course and not at the park. And even though I tweeted that I wanted to meet Randy Seevers and I hoped I'd get to, I didn't.
What I did get was a chance to express, however briefly, what Rhett Seevers and his story meant to me to someone there. And it really means so much. As bereaved parents, its hard for us to find a place to put our energy and emotions that had pretty much been given fully to the children we cared about. But the Seevers created this race and their foundation to have a place to put all of that, as a way to remember Rhett and all the gifts he gave them and so my family and I make the hour and a half trek every year to remember Rhett and to remember our own son and to honor the journey he took us and is still taking us on.
One of these days I will meet the Seevers and I'll shake their hands and tell them how important this all is to me. But right now I'll work on getting injury free and getting race ready for next year so I can hear the bagpipes play and brighten up my day. To the organizers of the event, thanks for a great day and all the great days your race provides.