A valentine letter to the community

The author of this letter asked to remain anonymous

The past 18 months swamped my family in tragedy. This Valentine’s Day I send love and gratitude to this community for feeding and caring for me and my three children and my husband who died after 18 months of cancer. We live here for the beauty and the schools, but the power is really the people.

My husband was diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer on June 13, 2022.  My neighbor and close friend organized a meal train. Dinners were brought to us by Oakland City Council members, Piedmont School Board members, very close friends, close friends, acquaintances and people I’ve never met. My kids would ask,”Who brought us this meal?” and each time I answered I was reminded of how lucky I am to live surrounded by so many caring people and really good cooks.

There were many nights when my husband was too nauseous to eat, but he knew that I didn’t have to shop or cook and his kids were being fed. He often said to me, “I wish I knew how to make this easier for you.”  I would reply, ”You don’t need to worry about that because of all the people helping around us.”

The meals were just the beginning. People we know organized car pools, dog walkers, retrievers for the meds. My dear friend who teaches at our elementary school stopped by every day to check on me, and still does. Family and friends who live across the country flew at a moment’s notice to take care of my family.

In November we finished our options with FDA approval and decided to try our luck with a new and promising radiation clinic in Southern California. Before we even booked the treatment, a generous family down the road offered us their house near the radiation place. That kind of generosity can make an entire extended family feel at ease.

In December, we ran out of treatment options and started hospice care. With the holidays approaching, friends organized a  candle-lit sidewalk concert of 80 people who stood below our bedroom window singing songs that my husband loved. My husband breathed his last breath moments before the singing began. I like to think his soul hopped on the voices and rode the music to peace.

This Valentine’s Day I send love and gratitude to this community.

3 thoughts on “A valentine letter to the community

  1. In this tough time in the world, it’s wonderful to hear your story of kindness and grace. I wish you and your family peace, and may your husband’s memory be a blessing.

  2. I don’t know your family, but what a wonderful message this is about the beautiful community Piedmont is. I send peace and healing to you and yours. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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