Alysa Cummings, OncoLink's Poet-in-Residence and breast cancer survivor, shares a memorable experience
Last Modified: December 1, 2006
Thinking back four years ago to the holiday season, I had just had surgery #1 and was gearing up for chemo infusion #1. The leaves had all changed color as they do this time of year and fallen quite dramatically. Overnight, it seemed. Leaves were everywhere; so many in fact, that they totally covered the lawn. You just couldn't see the grass anymore. And I remember looking outside and thinking, "I wish I could go out there and rake the leaves." Such a normal thing to think about doing, and after a cancer diagnosis and a body altering surgery, I certainly was hungry for anything that smacked of normal. But with bandages and drains and stitches, totally out of the question.
Moments after I had that thought, I spotted one of my neighbors in my backyard with one of those excellent leaf blower contraptions. It took him over an hour to clear the back and front of my house, and create impressive mountains of leaves at the curb. This unsolicited kindness - the gift of a "leaf free" yard - unasked for, delivered without fanfare - was the gift I remember most vividly. Later that same night, his wife came over with a baked apple pie to sweeten my memory of their collective kindness even more. That's what I call a gift of the season and I will never forget it.
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