Not far from my home, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is putting the finishing touches on a brand new home for a family in need. I don’t know the family, but their house was washed away in flooding about a year ago (not a common event where I live) and they’ve since been living in a tiny apartment practically on top of one another. As the “move that bus” moment has gotten closer, my commutes to and from work have been delayed by throngs of people gathering to volunteer, observe the workers or stalk Ty Pennington.
While my cynicism runs rampant with thoughts of the enormous property tax bill that will await this family after the magic of the moment wears off, the whole process has made me think of how people come together to build things. Sometimes it’s something tangible, like a house — or an old-style barn-raising (can I get a “yee-haw”?).
But other times, it’s something more important than that. It has been quite easy to fall into comparing the last year and a half of my life to those sad stories you here about on shows like “Extreme Makeover”. Of course, we rent — so tearing down our current home and rebuilding the house of our dreams might not please the condo association. But when I watch people roam through their new spacious kitchens and bedrooms modeled after their favorite sport, I think about the world that has been propped up around us by others since Vampboy got sick. Lonely rooms of dark isolation have been turned into sun-filled spaces with the voices, thoughts and prayers of so many that have given more than pipes and walls and electricity — they have given hope, and laughter and peace. Maybe they won’t keep me dry from literal rain, but on a figurative level they are far more important than any building that could have been provided.
On Saturday, under the tent you see above, many of you who were part of that gathered. And, every day, many more check in here to see how things are going and email a shout out to the Vampfamily. When our world fell apart, people like you came in to help us rebuild. I still want back what was lost, and I still morn the security and peace that will never exist in our lives again — but I treasure the space you have given us to struggle through and carve out a fresh start, and to move forward with some sense of hope.
So, my thanks again to each and every one of you, from near and from far, that continue to be part of our community and family. My son would not be alive today without everything that each and every one of you has done for us — and I mean that. As there is no way to thank you that would even compare to the gratitude we feel, the best we can do is continue to press forward in the spirit of survivorship.
Special thanks as well to our families for providing space and party supplies, and to those who came from near and far to play in the leaves and bounce in the house.
The next big event will be a rather scary one, as Vampboy will return to Chez Healing for a few hours for his first post-treatment MRI on Tuesday. An update will certainly be posted here as soon as we have it. In the meantime…