A Open Letter to the Young Man Thanking Me for Reading Names Last Night on the Village Green [PHOTOS]
Saturday night, August 12th was the 22nd Annual Carol Dyer Memorial Luminaria Night on the Village Green. All proceeds last night were given by the YWCA of MDI to the Breast Cancer Center at MDI Hospital.
It was a hauntingly beautiful night, with luminary bags ringing all the pathways on the Village Green in Bar Harbor. I don't remember seeing so many bags in all the many years that I have been involved in this event.
Alice French provided music and song, and Jackie Davidson, the Director of the WYCA even joined her for a couple of songs.
My job last night was to read the names and hometowns of the names inscribed on the luminary bags. It was either "in honor of" or "in memory of". Unfortunately each year, I personally know more and more names "in memory of".
As Alice French was playing and after I had just solemnly read about 30 names, a young man came up to me with tears in his eyes and thanked me for reading the names. He obviously had just lost a family member. I gave him a hug and told him thank you and to hang in there.
I thought for a few minutes, and wished I had responded differently. I wished that I had had time to explain to him that I am a 2-time cancer survivor. My father who has passed away, had cancer. My mother has had cancer. I still feel the pain of my father's passing, almost a year and a half ago. I have my father's voice saved on my phone in some voicemail. I listen to them occasionally. I don't think I'll forget what my Dad's voice sounded like, but it's there on my phone.
I also wished that I had shared with him, that it is MY distinct honor to read the names. He shouldn't be thanking me. Rather, it is me that should be thanking him. I wished that I had thanked him for remembering his loved one, and entrusting me to properly memorialize them, by reading their name. I wished that I had thanked him for his $10.00 donation, and how it was going to the Breast Health Center at MDI Hospital.
I wished that I had told him that this is one of the highlights of my summer, and that my wife and I block the night out, as soon as we know the date of the event. We are both honored to be asked to be involved each year.
I again closed the evening with the fervent prayer that we find a cure to cancer. That those fighting this awful disease will recover. That God grant strength to the caregivers and comfort to those who have loved ones who have passed away. I hope next year you can attend the 23rd Annual Carol Dyer Luminaria event and experience for yourself the hauntingly beautiful night and honor those fighting and remember those who have fought.
Check out some of the photos from the 2023 Annual Carol Dyer Luminaria Event.