How is it that it's 7:03 pm and I can barely keep my eyes open. So tired. It's Oscar night and there is the most amazing fundraiser going on in my hometown. I'm logged into my sister-in-law's Facebook account (since I don't have one of my own anymore) so that I can keep up with the live photo uploads. It's so fun!
The fundraiser is all about the Oscars, named Red Carpet Oscar Party and Fundraiser for Jessica Oldwyn. Watching all of the photos on the site, the smiles, the sparkles, the outfits, the swag, the decorations, the laughter I can feel in their faces, it's very special. I am one of the lucky people that grew up in Friday Harbor, quite possibly the most picturesque place in the world, and as I watch this amazing fundraiser unfold I feel like I'm living a Nicholas Sparks novel. Actually, it's more than that, I feel like I'm living a romantic comedy, an epic drama, and a documentary.
When you grow up on a uniquely isolated island, your friends become brothers and sisters. Your parents friends become aunts and uncles. Your teachers, bus drivers, your coaches, your sheriff, your bosses, the guy who parks you in line for the ferry boat, the people who take your ticket at the movie theater, the paramedics, everyone - absolutely everyone - help raise you. They raise you as role models, as patient ambassadors, and peers. It's the most beautiful family I could ever imagine. So many loving souls.
I'm I afraid I can't keep writing everything I want to say because my brain is throbbing, but I'm going to include the note I wrote for Courtney (my sister-in-law who worked tirelessly to put it together) to share at the event tonight.
I am snuggled in a faux fur blanket on the couch with a pad of paper and my favorite purple fine tip pen. I keep trying to put the feelings in my heart onto the page, but I can't put it into words. Not well anyway. My heart is literally swelling from the kindness you guys are demonstrating toward me. It's overwhelming, and embarrassing, but only in the most outrageously magnificent way. The fact that you're a part of the Oscar night, this night to help me continue my battle to live life, is huge. What you all are doing for me is huge. Of course I never knew I would have to fight this battle. I never expected, as I trolled False Bay for beach glass as a child, or the years showing pigs at San Juan County Fair, or the summers working out at Roche Harbor giggling with friends, that I would be forced into such a struggle, especially at my young age. But here I am. And one thing that I have never felt, from the absolute beginning, was solitude. My island raised me, and my island heals me. You have continuously helped heal my soul; You have continuously helped heal my heart; You have continuously helped heal my mind. You have engulfed me with love my whole life and as I fight, you close ranks, you circle wagons and protect me as much as you can and I am so very grateful. I am determined, and I am a warrior, but I am also fragile, and I know I can not do it all. Thank you for helping me. Thank you for your support. This is the most exhausting journey I've ever experienced, but I believe my life is worth the fight. I want to live.
I wish I could give hugs to thank all of you for coming, for your love, for effort, your generosity, and for your friendship. Thank you for caring about me, I feel very, very loved.
Here's a photo from our house in Greenlake:
Although I couldn't attend, I donned my great, great aunt's dress to join in the spirit. Although it's an hour and a half north and an hour long ferry ride (if you're lucky) to get to my beloved island, my heart's connection never waned. Like the love for my mother, or my father, who gave me life, San Juan Island grew her vines through my veins like little wild blackberries bearing fruitful memories. I am who I am because of our island.