How was my weekend at RELAY FOR LIFE?! FANTABULOUS!!!!! Sooo much love and support among the CDL ladies! Oh, but my throat now hurts from talking, screaming, laughing, crying, and being nervous… Yeah, but what a fun weekend! I haven’t had this much bonding/pondering time in a long time…
So, the most touching part of the whole event was the luminaria ceremony where decorated bags with “candles” in them are lit for people who have experienced cancer (who have survived or haven’t survived). I bought two bags on Friday (one for an aunt (Julia Cho) who passed away in 2008 and one for my dad (Ronald S.W. Young) who passed away in 2001 from cancer) and was looking forward to walking around Commencement lawn (the lawn right in front of Rowland Hall) and finding the bags. At 8PM on Saturday, April 24, the ladies from CDL all walked a lap together. I found my aunt’s bag pretty quickly (and I later realized that the bags were in alphabetical order) and, as we were walking around the pathway, my anticipation and anxiety increased more and more. I even recognized some names which added to all these emotions I was feeling.
Oooo I’m getting nervous and starting to shake as I’m typing this all out…
We were nearing the registration tables which were at the end of the lap and I was starting to feel a little disappointed that my dad’s bag might not have been created. Then, of course, the very last bag we saw was my dad’s… One look at it and I gently tapped Jenny and said quietly “That’s my dad’s bag…” and I burst out crying… I couldn’t hold it in any longer… I was so happy to see that someone decorated my dad’s bag so beautifully! It was definitely a happy, and yet bittersweet, moment. The most amazing part was that most of the ladies of CDL soon realized what was going on and came and gave me strong, supportive hugs! Apparently, my future roomies Yesenia and Jocelyn were dead center in the audience and saw the whole thing backstage.
Anyway, as I ended my sob (in my mind, a sob = hard and gasping cry during which I must close my eyes… compared to a cry = quiet and gentle cry with tears that fall slow enough to keep my eyes open), we had to go up and sing… Ohhh, that was interesting! We got onstage and sang “Over the Rainbow” and I had to pause a couple times because I could feel myself starting to tear up again. Then, we quietly got off, and this student began talking about someone she knew who had cancer… Ohhh, man, I was about to close my ears because I didn’t want to start crying again. Then, Connie and Lynn started crying and came over to me once more to hug me… Someone from the Relay For Life committee went up and asked us all to break our glowsticks if an aunt or uncle passed (I waited to break mine for my dad), then other people like brother or sister or a friend passed, and the last one was if our mom or dad had passed… I broke my glowstick and then they told everyone to line up on the pathway for a group walk in honor of all these people. CDL got back onstage for one last song… “Stand By Me”. The alto 2s started their bass line and then I began to sing the soprano 1 part to kind of warm up my voice again, but had to stop immediately to compose myself one more. I began singing my solo… “When the night has come… and the land is dark… and the moon is the only light we see…” …and it went really well. I think I cracked at one point, but it was fine. I didn’t care much, as long as I didn’t start crying again.
For the last part, after the key change, I had to close my eyes to sing because I was trying hard not to crack… Also, it made it a lot easier to go all out! The song ended and we all walked around the path again. The entire time I was gazing at the moon, holding the hands of the CDL members around me, and thinking to myself “Oh, God works in mysterious ways” remembering how my dad’s bag was the last one on the track before the purple and white balloon arch. I really do believe that everything happens for a purpose…you just have to figure out what that purpose is!
When I sang “Stand By Me,” either I sang really close to the mic or it was up really loud because it surprised me how loud I was and how much echo I heard throughout the park. Yesenia later told me that it was perfect because the other voice parts weren’t really heard, so it was basically a solo solo. Also, that the lyrics were absolutely fitting… ♥
Later, Jenny gave me the extra glowstick she had and I broke it for my aunt…
What a wonderful event! I really hope to do Relay For Life again next year with my ladies in Clair de Lune A Cappella!!!!! ♥
Rest in peace, Daddy and Aunt Julia… We’ll meet in Heaven when my time on Earth is over.