Every year my reaction to my brother’s memorial golf tournament is different.
Last year I was going through my own personal mental health struggles. I was in a very bad place last spring which lasted quite a few months throughout the summer. Although things around me in my life were going fine, even great to the outside eye, I was so unhappy. I was struggling so immensely.
Last year during this tournament I was floating. I went from task to task without really ever feeling much of anything. I of course knew the implications of what the tournament meant and deep down had a large sense of gratitude for my community that was showing up but I knew I wasn’t feeling as everything as deeply as I should have been. Or what was normal for me.
This year, as we rounded out the sixth memorial golf tournament on Connor’s behalf, I cried myself to sleep on Friday night, the evening before the tournament. Both Stuart and I had been up at home for the days leading up to the tournament in order to help my wonderfully organized and fearless mother do donation and prize pick ups all over the sunshine coast (yes, every single golfer receives a present at the end of the day!!!), make signs, cut banana bread, stuff green-themed goodie bags and get the golf course ready for a full day of celebrating Connor. But I was feeling it all.
I will randomly have these waves of emotions hit me when I least expect it. The weight of reality just crushes down on my heart. I will suddenly, very tangibly, realize that Connor isn’t here anymore. And the sudden tightness in my chest is just too much to take. Total despair floods into my system. I can only think how much I miss Connor and how impossibly hard this is for my family. Why us?
I felt it all this year.
But another thing that I was really able to grasp too, was my community’s unbelievable support and generosity. Year after year, many of the same businesses will sponsor a hole (a $200 donation) or do a title sponsorship (a $1000 donation). Businesses from Langdale to Sechelt will donate money, prizes, food, and resources all to support my family and love for Connor, regardless of if they knew him personally or not. It is truly astounding.
Many of the same golfers attend the tournament year after year. They bring friends or encourage others to enter in a four-some. We have volunteers running 50-50, longest drive, putting contests, food stations, candy stations, dress-up holes, doing water runs, organizing the prizes and whatever else needs to be done. Many of the same people are still showing up.
These people are still showing up six years later.
Now that I am a little bit more “out of the fog” as they say, I can really truly look around me to see how blessed we are by this close-knit community. To have people show up and volunteer their time, their generosity, and their resources to support the Connor Richey Legacy Fund is honestly such a miracle in itself.
This day is about celebrating Connor. Other days might be hard as we remember some of the tougher times we went through as a family and as a community. But this day, we all rise and come together even if it is a little painful, to play silly golf games, eat good food, and golf on Connor’s course he grew up on and play the sport he fell in love with so many years ago.
As usual, my family is left with saddened yet full and grateful hearts.
I am personally very thankful there is a day that is meant to celebrate my brother. Yes, it is so painful remembering what we have lost. But I am also so moved (to tears) that these people showed up and continue to show up on this day. That they love my brother and continuously choose to be here for Connor and our family.
I really truly love you all. Thank you for coming. Thank you for playing. Thank you for celebrating in remembrance.
P.S. if you’re interested in attending the golf tournament next year please click HERE to be added to the Connor Richey Memorial Golf Tournament Facebook group.