Over the past ten years Steve Fugate Sr. has walked almost 25,000 miles, and did it all with a sign over his head saying, simply, “Love Life.” His mission is to teach his love for life to every person he meets, so that no other parent will lose a child to suicide.
Steve was operating my business for me while I attempted a “thru-hike” of the Appalachian Trail. I had traveled just over half the trail when I received word that my son had placed a gun in his mouth and effectively ended both our lives.
I am convinced that there is no pain equal to that of losing a child. The grief was indescribable. I felt as though someone had taken an axe and chopped out my heart while I was yet breathing! My son, this living, breathing, precious life, my beautiful contribution to the universe, was suddenly gone. I can in no way fully describe the pain, I don’t know how to scream on paper…
Eight months later I returned to the exact spot where I had stopped my hike and proceeded to finish the “AT” as a tribute to my son. I screamed and cried almost every step of the way but I finished, having walked the entire 2,167 miles. While out on the trail in solitude, surrounded by the magnificent, inspiring beauty that encompasses that soothing and healing footpath, my life took a turn. For me, the Appalachian Trail became a pathway back to life… Trail Therapy. After completing my “thru-hike” of the Appalachian Trail I adopted a creed; I want no other parent to suffer the horror that I had to go through and I wanted no other young person to miss out on the chance to.. “LOVE LIFE”