I promised you all that I would write about the fire that happened with our family home over a year ago. And I will. Soon.
I'll write about how we turned onto the block, surprised to see the firetrucks on our small street. And about the horror when I realized, "Oh my god, that's our house!"
I'll tell about the sickening lurch I felt deep in my gut as we pulled over to talk to the firefighters as they broke the news that our house was on fire. The Fire Chief was holding my Daytimer, trying to find a number to notify someone that our life had just crumbled.
The agony when I was told that we lost my beloved "first baby" cat, Beleu, to the smoke. He was 14. I had adopted him as a kitten. We would later find out we lost all three cats: the 14 yr old, the 4 year old and the 4 month old.
I could tell you how I went on what I term Crisis Mode Autopilot, or CMA for short. Someone had to be strong for my children, pull it together and be their rock, the one they could cling to when they were drowning in fear.
How I walked blindly through the kindnesses of the American Red Cross volunteer as he found us a place to stay, and gave us some money for things I had taken for granted just that morning: toothbrushes, underwear, pajamas. We lost everything.
At some point, the firefighters finished doing what they do and gave us our house back. Though it would be many months before we felt we had our life back again. The air was dark, and smoky, and standing in the ruins of what was once the hallway, I vowed that we would be ok, no matter what. I did the only thing I could do: something. I went searching for the lovies my children depend upon: Pooh Bear for JBug. He has been at her side since she was 4 months old. JBear's "blah", the tattered satin blanket he sleeps with every night. Next came JBean's "baby Tigger", the animal she sleeps with, plays with, sings to. Everything reeked of smoke, and my hands were black with soot. It was like a war zone. Destruction was all I saw. And that, from me, there were no tears.
I have memories of walking through Walmart, like some undead thing, because that is all that is open just before midnight on a Sunday. Shuffling through with the rest of the deadbeats and the drunks, absently putting items into the cart: toothpaste, hairbrush, remnants of my life, when I had one.
I could tell you about holding my children, and hearing their small childrens' prayers as they thanked God for the firefighters and for Mommy and Daddy and that we were all safe and together. Their small arms clasped me to them as though they were afraid I, too, would disappear in a puff of smoke.
I could tell you that the tears didn't come then.
Or I could tell about how I spent the first night, the night we were effectively homeless,in a hotel with my face on the floor as my family slept, praying for their protection and God's mercy. And, then, after everyone else was sleeping, the tears came. I know what it is to pray through the night, and baptise my Bible in puddles of fear and confusion.
Looking back, if I had known the steps that were to come in trying to rebuild, collect from the insurance company and all of the decisions that were to be required, I am certain I would have sunk to my knees and never gotten up. Add in a layoff in the middle of the rebuild, and it was a recipe for a breakdown.
I have a strong marriage.
I could tell you all of this, but though it has been over a year, I am still not ready.
T, who needs to get this out soon