This was Eden a year ago. The chair she’s sitting on is in the garage of our rental covered with smoke. I didn’t think to pull out the table which was still intact and in our front hall. It came from Paul’s grandmother and I always liked its silhouette.
Archives for August 2010
We went back to the house twice the day of the fire. The first to meet with the fire investigator and the Sheriff and the second because my brother-in-law, David wanted to pull out any paintings that could be saved. Paul and I were both reluctant to return again. Both of just wanted to walk away. Christopher was upset about not being able to gather any of his belongings so the four of us drove over and walked through the wreckage. I gathered some of my antique bowls and looked for items that would be meaningful to the children, but it was hard to focus. There wasn’t anything I wanted. All of it was dead to me.
We would return several more times for various meetings and we would gather things. Each time we would reach a point where we had to go, when it became to painful to stay. It wasn’t always a conscious sorrow. Sometimes it was a heaviness, an overwhelming exhaustion.
It is a strange experience to lose so many of your belongings. Like any loss there are the stages of grief and the tricks your mind plays, the surprises that are, often, more confusing than painful.
In the early days, while still living at my sister-in-law’s I moaned, “And I just bought that cinnamon at Costco!” My brother-in-law, Thom, laughed because he had never heard me complain about losing any thing else. That is was a spice that I bemoaned amused him. But anyone who knows how big that container is, never mind that I had filled two separate shakers, one for my spice drawer and one that lived next to the cereals and I sprinkled on my morning oatmeal.
That’s the way it is. As we remember we mourn. I didn’t care to salvage that little pink table when I could have, but now I wish I had and regret that I didn’t.
Yesterday I spent 3 hours on the phone with Comcast and AT&T in an attempt to port our old number to our rental home.
Oh the humanity!
In the process I learned that the only internet service available at the rental is dial-up. The family’s collective jaw dropped. We haven’t had any service for the week and a half that we’ve been in the rental, but we had hope for the future.
It really is the little things that get you. I can live with almost all my earthly possessions being destroyed but trying to get phone and internet almost undid me. We don’t have either yet. But I refuse to be undone.
Even the sparrow has found a
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young–
a place near your altar,
O Lord Almighty, my King and
Last week we moved into our rental, where we will stay “up to 12 months” (according to insurance; that’s as long as they’ll cough up the dough) while we rebuild.
The day of the fire I began to refer to Paul’s sister’s house, where we were staying, as “home”. I didn’t miss a beat. For the older kids it was “Aunt Dawn’s and Uncle Thom’s” which had always been a second home to them so it took me a little while to understand that they felt homeless which, of course, we were.
The moldering ruins we call, “The House.” Lydia carefully refers to “the rental.” I don’t know how it will be when the house is torn down, if it will be easier or more painful still.
What I do know is that I can’t fix this for any of my children. They live in a world where someone can start your house on fire. They did before June 27, but now they know it and I can’t remove that sorrow.
But I can mourn with them.
I am, and I will.