A House That Still Stands

SOL Tuesday

Hosted by Two Writing Teachers
Hosted by Two Writing Teachers

It’s like a tornado when it hits.  One house is devastated.  Wiped out.  Nothing but brick and siding left.  While the house next door still stands.  Not a hair on it’s proverbial head touched.  It’s as if the tornado didn’t even come through their neighborhood.

This is how I’ve been thinking about cancer lately.  I know so many people caught in its path.  Those who have been struck and those who have remained “in tact” as the tornado of cancer blew through their neighborhood.   Pictures seen on TV of the tattered photo album and the broken crock pot laying there amidst the rubble.  The car parts that are hanging in the tree miles from where the car was originally parked.  This is the path of cancer.  It hits one and misses the other.  And, when it strikes, it leaves behind destruction, chaos and agony.  Your whole world was turned upside down.  A teddy bear, warm – fuzzy – comforting, that’s left sitting in the midst of pain and upheaval.  It doesn’t make sense there.  Things that were once comforting are no longer.    The car parts hanging in the tree liken to the parts of your psyche that are in so many different places during and after cancer.

The houses that are left standing.  The people who aren’t stricken directly by cancer, but still feel the effects because there is always someone in our lives, near or far, that have been touched with this horrible disease.   The families in that “untouched” house are helping to clean up their neighborhood, providing emotional and physical support to their neighbors, living through the devastation in another way.  Thankful that their house is still standing while feeling a twinge of guilt.  Why was their house spared?

With the countless people in my life who have faced cancer head on – I (for now) am that house still standing.  I have tried to give all the love and support I can to my close friends and acquaintances, while being thankful that I am healthy.   I have also felt the guilt.  Wished it were me who was sick so I could take away the hurt.  Unable to answer the question, “why not me?”

I’m not sure how to end this piece because this is something I constantly think about.  I can’t figure out how it ends.  I suppose the best thing to do is to continue to live our lives with good purpose and love in our hearts.  We never know when the tornado is going to hit our neighborhood.  Our home.

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9 thoughts on “A House That Still Stands

  1. “A teddy bear, warm – fuzzy – comforting, that’s left sitting in the midst of pain and upheaval.” This image is going to stay with me for a long time. This whole piece in fact speaks to so many that have seen, witnessed, and experienced this upheaval. Thank you for putting it into words.

  2. Carrie, this is such a powerful analogy/metaphor/whatever it’s called. It’s powerful and beautiful and sad, all at once. I think this piece is now my #2 favorite of yours. And, the ending is perfect. We never know….

  3. My own family as well as my neighborhood family has been hit by the “cancer tornado” this year. My husband just had back surgery recently, and he was complaining one day. I gently reminded him that I still had him, his back wasn’t terminal. Sure puts things in perspective.

  4. What an amazing, heartfelt post. There are many around me who are going through the chaos of cancer. I am grateful that I am a part of their lives and I can give them some support. I look ahead with trepidation wondering who will befall its curse. Each day I do my best to put things in perspective and appreciate the small moments of life.

  5. Cancer really is like a tornado. It is chaotic and unpredictable. In order to survive it or continue to live for those that are left after it passes, friends like you are the foundation. When we have a foundation, we can build again. Thank you for being that steady pillar for those around you!

  6. I read this with tears in my eyes because it is so absolutely true, the analogy is perfect and this piece is a beautiful tribute to those fighting and those who are there trying to support.

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