Cancer or no cancer, do you associate certain things with certain events in your life? Is there something that always takes you back to “that time or place”? Maybe it’s a piece of clothing, an item of food, a scent or smell, a vehicle or even a piece of furniture. Some things automatically take us back.
This is a story about cancer, associations and a blue leather sofa and chair.
Recently, a certain blue leather sofa and chair and I parted ways. It was time, but it was also hard and okay, a little sad.
Let me tell you about it…
Years ago, Dear Hubby and I built a house. (Never again, btw. Going through that process once was enough for us.) The color we chose for the exterior of our new house was blue.
But there was more blue, lots more!
The stairs going up to the second level that you saw immediately upon entering our front door were carpeted in blue. Our master bedroom carpet was blue as well. And not just the carpet. Oh no. The walls were blue too. Son #2’s bedroom was blue. Blue carpet. Blue walls. Upstairs bathroom, yep, blue walls, blue rugs.
Half a dozen years or so later, Dear Hubby and I finally got around to getting some new furniture for our new blue house. It took a while. Three kids and all. Finally, it was time for some new stuff.
You guessed it. We picked out blue furniture – a blue leather sofa that came with a matching blue leather chair and a blue leather ottoman too!
So much blue! What were we thinking?
(I guess blue was big in the 90’s, or at least it was in our house.)
Life carried on in our blue house. Time passed quickly, as it usually does.
A decade+ later, it was time for a move. We packed up and then watched our things from our blue house get loaded into a van by strangers who thought nothing of moving stuff people love from one state to another.
Upon arrival in Wisconsin, we watched with relief as our familiar belongings reappeared, were unloaded and then carried into and strategically placed in a new home that was not yet at all familiar and certainly not blue.
A whole bunch of life happened while we began living in our new non-blue house in Wisconsin, good stuff, bad stuff – including my mother’s cancer recurrence and a few months later, her death from metastatic breast cancer. Shortly thereafter, came my own cancer diagnosis.
I heard the words, you have ‘a’ cancer, while sitting on that blue leather sofa with only my two dogs by my side to witness it.
Following my bilateral mastectomy and hospital discharge, I headed straight to the blue leather sofa and pretty much lived there for days. Slept there for weeks.
As I wrote in my memoir:
In less than one hour I am home, once again lying on my comfortable blue leather sofa. I’m surrounded by a dozen or so pillows of various shapes, sizes, colors and firmness-es. Each one needs to be positioned just right, and it’s no small feat to figure this out. I love this old sofa. It feels like an oasis…the center of my life. It’s the place where I rest, sleep, elevate my arms, watch TV, read, reflect, cry, plan, journal, feel sorry for myself, make calls, send texts, worry, imagine worst-case scenarios, imagine best-case scenarios, sip on water from my hospital mug, think and do nothing at all…It’s merely a piece of furniture…over ten years old. We purchased it the same year we took a family vacation to Disney World, in my other life. The life when there was no cancer yet for Mother or for me and when I had breasts that were mine.
Through it all, the good and the not so good, the blue leather sofa and blue leather chair sat in our family room. Familiar fixtures of comfort, family and blue.
Recently, Dear Hubby and I decided it was time once again for some new stuff. We were ready to say goodbye to that familiar blue leather sofa and chair. It was time. (Actually, it was past time.) They were old. Faded out. Worn down by time and use.
We picked out a new sofa and chair. This time, choosing brown leather rather than blue.
Along with the excitement of getting a new brown leather sofa and chair came twinges of sadness too.
Saying goodbye to that blue leather sofa and chair was like saying goodbye to good friends that had stood by me through good times yes, but shitty times too. Really shitty times.
A lot of tears were shed while I sat on that blue leather sofa and chair.
Cancer. Grief. Cancer again. These things had been worn into that blue leather too.
As we loaded the blue leather sofa and chair into Dear Hubby’s Ford 150 and drove to our local donation drop-off site, lots of emotions stirred around in my heart. I wondered whose family would sit on them next. Knowing they weren’t “done yet” made it easier to say goodbye.
Whenever I think of our blue leather sofa and chair, I will think of good times, yes, but I will also remember the not-so-good times.
Remembering our blue leather sofa and blue leather chair will always jar open mixed emotions.
Again, from my memoir:
It’s odd how someone can suddenly become emotionally attached to a piece of furniture, but then again, maybe it’s not.
Maybe it’s not indeed.
Goodbye, blue leather sofa and blue leather chair.
(P.S. We kept the ottoman.)
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Cancer or no cancer, is there an object, scent, article of clothing or something else that always take you back?
If you’ve had a cancer diagnosis, what is a trigger that reminds you of your diagnosis, treatment, “that time” or whatever it might be?
This has nothing to do with anything, but just wondering, do you use the word sofa or couch?
Read about the blue leather sofa and a whole lot more in my memoir, Cancer Was Not a Gift & It Didn’t Make Me a Better Person.