Monday, December 17, 2007
Why DC Rocks
The darkest days of the year are with us now- hence for whatever reason, religious or otherwise, throughout the centuries, people have produced lights of their own when the sun fails them. Menorahs, Christmas lights, candles and bonfires- the evidence is everywhere in the abundance of parties and food to get us through these dark days.
Eight years ago our annual party had grown to over a hundred people. It was going to be on a Sunday, luminary night in our neighborhood. I was in the grocery store stacking the cart FULL of food. I called home to see if we needed anything else, and that was when I got the word our eight year old daughter had to go to Georgetown hospital. A blood test had come back with an abnormal count.
I abandoned cart.
She was admitted that night, but we were assured she'd be going home the next day...but they kept on doing tests. We called off the party. Finally, fed up with hospital bureaucracy and not even registering the word oncologist in my feeble brain, I was blind sided when this beautiful woman asked me to go down the hall to talk. It wasn't until she suggested I sit down that I had even a clue something was very wrong. Our girl had leukemia-a highly curable form of leukemia- but nevertheless not something I'd imagined happening. Next thing we knew it was years of chemo, hospital stays, and many, many dark days.
But meanwhile all those friends rallied round. Meals started coming in from them and from neighbors- and this went on for many months. The food not only helped ease our routine, but each contribution was a sign that we were not alone.
It's been five years since the treatments ended, and she is cancer free which is truly a miraculous thing. Despite the happy ending, I've never again been able to plan a big party at this time of year. Or even a small one. The best I can do is ask people over at the last minute and hope somebody can show up. Last Sunday night was one of those nights. It was luminary night again, though the high winds postponed the event. A few friends came over anyway and early on in the evening, carollers were out- many of them neighbors. We went out on the porch, and when they finished singing those that knew me came up and hugged me one by one- the same people that helped us get through those dark times so many years ago- bringing light out of the dark again.
So that's what I hope for all of you - that when all this rushing around commercial crap that comes this time of year makes you crazy-that you can step back and find the music and the light. (Well, not THE light- you know what I mean) There are a lot of good things and people and talent in this town-underneath it all. All of that and the Lombardi Center, too. Another reason why DC rocks.