Photo by Deny Howeth, Cape Gazette
An Open Letter to the Community from Viki Dee
On Sunday evening, October 21, I didn’t know that my life would be changed forever. I didn’t know the type of grief and guilt, nor did I have a clue what “Post Traumatic Stress” was.
When returning home from the Distilling Company after a wonderful night of listening to, and having the honor of performing with, some of jazz’s best, I came upon my home in flames.
I ran to the front door with my cell phone in my hand talking to 911 dispatch while watching the flames come through the sliding glass doors off of my bedroom.
I remember throwing the phone as I frantically grabbed for my key to unlock the front door. I could feel the heat on the door knob as I twisted it to enter.
The heat was the hottest, most intense that I have ever felt. Instantaneously, I was blown off the front porch by the back draft and landed in my mulch bed.
I got up, and ran to save my dog, Chance, my cat, Bella, and my 24 year old cockatiel, Sunshine. Just then, a paramedic arrived in time to pull my jacket and save me from losing myself, as I did the three of them.
After the fire was extinguished, I was guided to an area where they were laid together on a blanket, to say my goodbyes.
The next morning, I awoke after a couple of hours of sleep, to realize that I only had the clothes I performed in the night before, and that was all. The rest was ash.
I went back every day and dug through the rubble to try and find something tangible, something that was still mine, something I could take with me, anything.
That following weekend, I was told that the community was planning a fundraiser on my behalf, to help me rebuild all that I had lost.
The planning stages, and all of the details were kept from me, so I didn’t have a clue what was transpiring, only that I had to be there.
That Sunday, was the most heartwarming event I had ever seen, or been a part of, in my entire life. I was blown away by the love and support that was displayed that day. From the live entertainment, to the silent auction donations, the food donations, the volunteers, and all of the people that attended and bought tickets.
I smiled BIG, and was consumed by the outreach.
It goes without saying, that on that day, whether you were a gay male, gay female, or heterosexual, that this community, MY community, and YOUR community, completely integrated themselves as one beautiful, giving entity. And that my friends, made me so very proud. Proud to have you in my life, proud to say, “I love you,” proud to be living here, and honored that you would consider coming to my aid as you all did.
So much has happened since then. I’m in a new home, with my pup Bucca, and my cat Bacci. (Waiting on the bird, LOL.)
I am back performing and have scheduled studio time to record again.
Although I still struggle emotionally and psychologically with the trauma, I am healing every day. It still seems so surreal.
I kind of feel like I look at life through a different lense now, and what I see, is everything that some of us take for granted in our everyday lives. So, Love MORE, Give MORE, Help MORE, Argue LESS, Hug LONGER, call an old friend, and remember that everytime you take a breath, your heart smiles.
Thank you Rehoboth Beach, and my neighbors at Aspen Meadows, you are “Simply The Best.”