For Owen…we marched in owenge

19 09 2011

A few months ago the flyer for the Brigg’s & Al’s Walk/Run for Children’s Hospital of WI came to work and my sister put it on my desk.  The funny thing about this was that not long before this I prayed with all my heart and soul for God to use me to help the process of healing for the Bissing family who lost their middle triplet Owen when he was 6 months old…the light went on in my head and I asked Mel if she’d be okay if I tried to organize a team to walk/run for Owen.  She said that’d be great.  I asked if anyone wanted to be a co-captain and Mandy stepped right up. That seems like a million years ago…but that was just this past July.  The wheels began rolling and wow, did we accomplish so much since then.

A week before the walk Mandy picked up all 60+ shirts for our team members and a wonderful group of girls and babies gathered to turn our plain white t’s into works of OWENGE art.  Here is the before and after:

So Saturday, September 17, 2011 was an INSANE morning for us, just so much to do and so little time to do it.  Tucker is in a needy mommy stage which makes doing life a bit more difficult.  We made it out of the house and on our way, about 30 minutes later than I wanted, but we were out…met Eric at the park n ride, dropped off my car at the Summerfest Grounds, and into Eric’s car where he dropped us off at the family drop zone.  Our team was easy to find, they were a while back from the start line which made us one of the last groups in the walk.

We took our team picture chatted with everyone and off we went.  We were about 8 steps into the race when one of the most intense emotions surged through my body.  It made me weak.  I can’t even tell you which emotion was felt the deepest…pride, sadness, heart-ache, enlightment, strength, gratefulness, or awe.  There were 18,000 people walking and running – there were THOUSANDS of stories about families who’s children walked out the doors of Children’s feeling better and families who have been left to find a new normal walking out those same doors without their children.  The gratefulness that I felt that my Tucker hasn’t seen those doors was overwhelming and tears began to form.  I looked up and saw our banner with little Owen’s picture on it and his theme: OWENGE the color of a warrior.  I was so proud that God nudged me to start the process to gather a good sized crew to march for Owen.  I looked around and saw Mel and her sister and brother walking linked arm and arm marching for their warrior. 

I never knew Owen in life, but have loved learning about his story from Mel.  He was the chill baby, just content to be there, smiley and happy, and was the chunky monkey of the crew.  I  have learned about Owen’s life and love him as much as a person who’s only known him through his mother can…I can’t imagine what the Medals and Bissings were feeling Saturday.  It’s so bittersweet, you never want to have to walk in memory of someone, but if you do you want it to be the best it could be, and Saturday was for us.  My cousin Tricia came and marched with us, it was so awesome to get to spend some time with just her…she’s so amazing with Tucker and he adores her.  Tricia said that she could feel that feeling of everything too when we started walking.  This overwhelming love for this little bitty dude, who’s bringing so many people together to continue to do good in this world through him.   There were a plethora of local ‘celebrities’ there, the Miller Park Racing Sausages, the Marquette Basketball players (boys and girls and coaches) the UWM cheerleaders, a lot of company and sports mascots, among many local bands playing music on the sides of the street while we walked.  It would be quiet just long enough to catch your breath before another wave of pride and awe came over you.  I knew it wasn’t just me when we came upon the Marquette cheerleaders who were also tearing up looking at the crowd of 18,000 all marching for their warriors on earth and heaven.

Mel has talked about an orange monarch butterfly that has appeared at all different times, at the lake house, around their house, at events.  There was one orange monarch butterfly that was floating around my house the day we made cake pops for Owen’s fundrasier at Bilda’s, it was there when we gathered to tie dye our t-shirts owenge, and during our walk it was there through almost the entire walk following our team.  Here is the owenge monarch posing for a picture among the owenge flowers on the route.  For those who don’t believe in God they may say it’s just a coincidence.  I know better, it’s God and Owen telling us that they are proud of the work we are doing in Owen’s name.  We are working on earth to do God’s work as Owen’s Warriors.  This little butterfly is a sign from them…I just know it, I have faith that Owen’s legacy and journey will continue as long as we keep doing the Lord’s will.  This little butterfly flying so gracefully amongst our team members was a little glimpse of light painted the color OWENge.

After the walk we attended a Thank You cookout at Mel’s mom and dad’s house.  It was a wonderful relaxing afternoon in the beautiful sun at their beautiful house filled with love and memories of a wonderful family.  As we pulled out of the driveway Tucker passed out cold.  I must say we ended the day exhausted, it’s amazing how just 3 miles and a million tons of emotions can simply exhaust you.  Next year’s date has already been set, put it on your calendars and come march as one of Owen’s Owenge Warrior Walkers in the Brigg’s & Al’s Run/Walk for CHW on September 15, 2012…see you at the start line.


Dear Tucker,
On Saturday we were part of a VERY special day, we marched in memory of Owen. I can’t even begin to tell you how much this family has impacted me as a mother to you.  They are truly blessings to us.  It is inevitable that we will also face sad and heartbreaking days in our lives, may we go through them with the same grace and faithfulness that the Bissings and Medals have.  I will strive to be the kind of mom that teaches you about faith and God, and I pray that Owen’s monarch will flutter around you too.  I am so glad that you also are getting to be one of Owen’s warriors.  May we both learn all that God wants us to learn through His warrior Owen, how precious and fragile life is, and how to love one another.  There are many people who may read Owen’s story and become paranoid that what happened to him could happen to their child.  I choose to read Owen’s story and live my life so that every second of it is spend telling you and my loved ones how much I love them, that if there isn’t a tomorrow, I won’t live thinking about what I should have done different.  It’s easy to tell you that as I see your smiling face and touch your warm cheeks, but I truly believe that God is good and although bad things happen, they are all part of a greater plan.  So today, I’m gonna hug you extra close, and rock you to sleep and say our prayers when I lay you down, “Now I lay you down to sleep…I pray the Lord your soul to keep…Guide you safely through the night…and wake you with His morning light.  Amen”  Good night my sweet baby, I love you Tucker James. 



5 responses

20 09 2012
My UNGLUED Saturday – all dressed in OWENge « Life is Good as a gitter

[…] heartache Mel and Doug endured May 26th, 2011.  I remember the feeling of overwhelming gratitude last year for what God has blessed me with, and it was compounded with all my screaming and yelling I did […]

6 01 2012
First year of baby our love em or hate em product reviews « Life is Good as a gitter

[…] used that money towards something great like a BOB (I borrowed Eric’s cousin’s for the Brigg’s & Al’s Run/Walk for Children’s Hospital and immediately felt the difference and theirs was 10 or 11 years old.  When and if we’re so […]

10 11 2011
30 Day Giving Challenge – Day 9 « Life is Good as a gitter

[…] He’s such a wonderful and giving guy.  He donated to me when Tucker and I walked in the Al’s Run/Walk for CHW as OWENge Warrior Walkers.  The March of Dimes mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, […]

20 09 2011

No worries Natasha – keep sharing Owen’s story and there will be many more OWENGE Warrior Fund events in the future! Sharing Owen’s story and sharing his story is all that Mel wants people to do. Thanks for the encouragement, it’s easy to be a strong woman when I’m surrounded by the amazing women I know (:


19 09 2011
Natasha Wenninger

I saw your pictures on FB the other day, before I even read this blog entry. As I looked through them, when I got to the picture with the monarch butterfly (then one I “liked”), it immediately made me catch my breath and think, “there’s OWEN”!
I don’t know the Bissings, I sadly haven’t been able to attend any of the events, but I have followed the story ever since you first posted about it all those months ago. It’s impossible not to be touched by their story, and yours as well. I admire your drive to help- we should all be such strong women in our Christian faith.
Blessings and hugs,

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