Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas At The Catery

For the past 4 years, my sister, Angie, has been a nanny to 3 kids whose mother was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Most ALS patients only live 2 to 5 years after being diagnosed. Claire fought it for 5 years. She passed away in May of this year. Claire was a big personality. She made appearances in Congress and on national tv and passionately raised awareness and funds for ALS research. 

Over the last few years I've had the opportunity to get a glimpse into the journey of this family and the friends that are like family to them.

Last night, one of Claire’s best friends held a Christmas party. It was my pleasure to attend. The party was held at this café in downtown Larchmont, NY. Owned by Claire’s friend, he gave a bit of himself when he hosted and cooked and opened his place to those who joined him to honor Claire. A storefront café on the main street, right next to the train station; it had an antique feel dressed in festive trimmings. It glowed with the warmth of Christmas.

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were served as the guests mingled to the soft sounds of yuletide carols. These were Claire’s friends and Claire’s family that had gathered on this evening. Although I have met many of these folks over the past few years, I was an observer more than an insider.

They shared stories and memories of Claire from childhood, through the years, and even of her funeral. I never knew Claire without her wheelchair and her tracheal tube. They did. They knew her as a young girl, a sister who confided her secrets, a teenager who got in trouble, a college student who was a little crazy, a bride who was in love, a mom who needed a night out, and they all knew her as their cherished friend.

As I listened to each of them reminisce, I was touched to realize that this group of people is connected today because of one person. They are friends now because each of them were, at some point along the course of their lives, impacted by the same person. Claire, the person who brought this group of people together, is no longer living among them but her impression on their lives has kept them together.

I witnessed the tangible influence of one life as she had given and it had multiplied.

It was a beautiful reminder up close and in my face that life matters and what we give to others today will extend beyond our own limitations. 


Ang said...

That was great... captured the evening, and the one we miss perfectly. :)

Anonymous said...

Christina...WOW!! That was great! You really captured the night! That just made my day! We were all brought together by Claire's amazing sprit and love of life. I'll have friendships now that will last a lifetime because of her! Thanks again!!
"A friend of Claire"...Nora