I was 9 years old when Hurricane Hugo ripped through South Carolina leaving nothing but destruction in its wake. It was the first hurricane I had lived through and I slept huddled in a ball at the foot of my parents bed as our house shook with the violent winds. I remember being afraid that I was going to die, that everything was falling down around me, and that no one was safe.
We made it through the storm and we were lucky. There was no major damage to speak of to our house or our neighborhood. Now I’ve lived through countless hurricanes, a few tornadoes, and an earthquake. Now I know what to do when the weatherman starts warning us.
I know how to tape windows and stack sandbags. I know to hide in the bathtub or the closet on the lowest floor of the house. I know to stock batteries, water, bread, and flashlights. I know how to weather a storm with the best of them.
Last year my husband was diagnosed with cancer. By the time we caught it it had already spread to his lymph nodes. Again I felt as if my world was crumbling around me. I felt like I would never be safe again with this demon standing in our doorway. I lay huddled at the foot of my own bed as the storm threatened my very existence.
We made it through though, and we were lucky. For a year he was cancer free and we learned to take the lessons and live them. Life is precious and short. We are only here for a blink of an eye. We learned to value what really mattered and let the small things fall by the wayside. We took an amazing trip for our 10 year anniversary and made memories that will last a lifetime.
Then the cancer came back and it had progressed. But this time I know how to navigate the healthcare system. I know how to stay organized with the countless doctor’s appointments, endless scans, and repetitious abs. I know how to care for our three small children and a bedridden husband. I know how to navigate an infusion center with the best of them. This time I can feel the winds rocking my house but I’m just a little wobbly. I don’t believe the timbers will crack and crumble around me or that my roof will get ripped off sucking me into the abyss of the storm.
But, with every lesson we learn we are presented with a new challenge. And it is hurricane season after all.
A week ago our family business (a boat dealership) was rocked by an indescribable theft. We are still assessing the damage but at first take we believe we have lost at least $200k in merchandise.
This I don’t know how to handle. This is what’s crumbling my walls and my resolve. But as I’ve gotten older I know that I’ll learn. That I’ll be okay. It feels scary now but in a years time (or hopefully sooner) I will be that much stronger.
We go for his next dose today. We’ve battened down the hatches and stacked the sandbags around our lives. These come in the form of friends and family and prayers. We do all we can but hurricane season comes every year in one way or another for all of us.