Today’s benefit concert for Ana was a huge success. We raised over $2000 which will go a long way towards helping us with medical expenses. I want to post the thank you speech I read (with very few tears!) today for those of you who couldn’t make it. I know there are many of you who wanted to be there, and – in truth – you were there with us in spirit, celebrating the miracle of Ana’s recovery.
I’m going to try not to be afraid of saying the word cancer. Because even though cancer is big and sometimes it felt like it was going to crush us all, the burden of cancer was made bearable by all of you – our community.
I’m learning a lot about healing from watching Ana recover – a lot about the resilience of the human body, the strength of my children and the healing power of love in all its forms – prayer, kind words, kind acts and the endless willingness you have shown to give – your time, your talent, your money and your support. I could get lost in a thousand thank you’s – wrap them up in metaphor and drag them out for ten minutes (if you read the blog, you know I’m capable of it).
But I will fight my compulsion to try and explain every feeling I’m having right at this moment and simply say – thank you for helping us. Thank you for staying with us, for giving so much, for your generosity, your concern and your prayers. Thank you to Ana’s doctors – one of whom (Dr. Martinez!) is here tonight – for knowing how to heal her, and then healing her.
Learning to accept all of these gifts has been the path to my own healing. I’ve always thought of writing as the quiet art. Words on a page don’t make much noise. But published words have power. I know that now. I cried out for help, and you heard me. I want to read a few of words from people who have emailed me or commented on the blog. Your words have power too:
“We won’t let her fall off the cliff. I promise.” – Dr. Jessica Hochberg
“We are just not meant to go this thing called life alone. What luck for us all to have found this community, and even better that we get to co-create it every day.” – Michelle Hughes
(When I worried about where we’d spend Christmas – at home or in the hospital) “Christmas will be wherever Ana is. Christmas is not a place. As the saying goes, Christmas is in our hearts.” – Janne Dooley (with an addendum by Carly Williams)
“Please remember to call on the wider community as you need to – we are here and waiting.” – Stephanie Ellis
“I’ll be out here reading until I see that picture of you and Ana (and Emily and Jim) hopping up and down in celebration of full recovery!” – Ulrike Walter
“It’s all good, Mama. Wonderful news – traveling toward your goal. Deep breath, take a bubble bath. You’re doing your best which is astronomical and magical. “ – Kiku Collins
“I stand in wonder of you both you and Ana – having come out on the other side. I wait to see what great things you will both do, now that you’ve broken the surface.” – Maia Rossini
Thank you for teaching me what it means to be a part of a community. Thank you for being here today so that I can tell you this in person. Thank you for not letting us fall.
Here are a few pictures from today – I wish I’d had time to take more.
Emily’s folding programs. She was a big help all day long.
Ana and friends hanging out during intermission.
Amy Helm, Dan Littleton, Elizabeth Mitchell and Ruthy Ungar
Emily and Ella relaxing in the pavilion
And, of course, here’s Ana – singing Carry On by Fun.