Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reisterstown, Maryland
Thursday, November 4, 2010 2:40 PM, CDT
I sincerely apologize for being MIA for the entire month of October. The explanation is long and one with many details, but I will try not to go overboard...an attempt that will most likely prove to be futile! ; )
The morning of Saturday, October 2nd started out rather nice. For the first time in a long time I sat out on our back deck and enjoyed my morning coffee while Corinthian kept me company. I woke up feeling good and looking forward to just spending a weekend of quality time with the family. The phone rang a little after 8:00. It was my mom, who, in her usual manner, asked how I was doing. There was a different tone in her voice...one I was not used to hearing. After a short bit of small talk, she spoke slowly and began her next sentence with the word, “Well...” which in many cases is usually followed by some potentially bad news. I could feel my chest begin to tighten as she proceeded to calmly explain to me that she and my dad had experienced a little house fire during the night. For the past six months of my life I've been living in sort of a coma where I didn't think my heart could feel any pain deeper or my level of anxiety could swell any higher than what I had been enduring until the thought and fear of the possibility of losing both of my parents in a fire became a reality!
Speeding up the conversation as my mom naturally began to predict panic in my voice, she assured me that she and my dad were both okay. I proceeded to ask for details into the matter of how, when and what happened. At the time of our conversation, to the best of their knowledge, the fire began in the garage in an electrical outlet where an extension cord was plugged in. The flames then shot up through the attic and proceeded to do damage to the ceiling above the kitchen as well as most of the interior of the garage. My mom said around 3:00 am she was awakened by the strong smell of burning wood. She rolled over and tried to turn on the lamp by her bed but it would not come on. In the dark, she and my dad got up and managed their way into the living room where they could already see bright orange flames through a door that lead from the kitchen into the garage. It was then that their smoke alarms finally went off. My dad, in an attempt to save his home, ran outside and tried to begin spraying the fire with a garden hose. My mom ran to the neighbors house for help in calling 911. I can only imagine the fear and panic that swirled around them as this all went on.
As my mom is telling me the details, still in a calm voice, the numbness of my shock begins to wear off and I begin to experience deep fear of the situation. I do, at the same moment, feel a wave of relief as she continues to convince me that they are both okay. My thoughts then traveled to their beloved cats...a female named Dust Bunny and a male name Tige...two stray cats they took in at different times and cherished both of their companionship's. My mom said that when the fireman brought out Dust Bunny, she could tell the kitty was not going to make it. She had obviously been overcome by the smoke. The firemen found Tige under a bed and he appeared to be in better condition, but was rushed to a Cat Clinic for further evaluation. His condition worsened over time, but after cashing in the majority of his nine lives and spending a week under a vet's care, he has recuperated and is currently in the care of a mutual animal loving friend.
My parents house was not destroyed by the fire, but ended up with extreme smoke and water damage and will not be livable or repairable at this time. Unfortunately, they were also without home insurance at the time of the fire. Their policy had been dropped as their fifty-five year old house was in need of painting. My dad took on the job himself and was over three quarters of the way done when the disaster occurred. This is one of life's lessons that is difficult to have to learn and endure, but we attempt to move forward and try not to dwell on the would've, should've, could've scenarios that plague us during situations like these.
My parents have a very wonderful and supportive church family that has stepped in and done amazing things for them! Their minister even went so far as be with my parents as they buried their kitty, Dust Bunny, and held a little prayer service for her. In an attempt to console my dad about the loss of his cat, which only true animal lovers can begin to understand, I told him that I was so sorry she died, but now Sicily has a kitty to play with in heaven. I think the thought helped us all out in some way!
This past month has been a month of true growth for me on so many levels. My parents fire, though tragic, heartbreaking and inconvenient, has proved to teach me some lessons that I don't think I normally would have learned otherwise. My sisters and I have taken turns in these past weeks traveling from different locations in the state of Oklahoma to help our parents begin the long process of basically starting over. It has been an eye opening experience to see the accumulation of things that can fill a house over a forty-two year span of life. It's been hard. At first, my emotions ran the gamut when processing that the house I grew up in, the home my children referred to as “Grandma and Grandpa's house,” would no longer carry those titles. It could no longer serve that purpose as “their home.” But what really makes a home? Is it the belongings we've collected or the material things we've held onto year after year? Is that what a home is made of? Or is it the family and friends who spend time together enjoying life and making lasting memories between walls and under roofs that define what a home is? It seems so easy to truly see the obvious, but for many of us, “things” represent our lives or the lives of others that have touched us. So much so that we begin to bury ourselves with them and we won't let them go for fear of losing or weakening our memory of what those “things” represented...a person, a place, an experience, a relationship. I don't know if you can see where this is going, but I've been spending the past month battling my own personal war over letting go of some of Sicily's things. I started by tackling mounds of clothing, shoes and hair accessories. It has been a painful journey, but one I was ready to embark on. It will take time, but at least I've jumped on the wagon and I'm headed down the right trail.
I started to realize that Sicily's clothing did not represent who she was as a human being and did not define her. Holding onto it all has actually caused me more pain just to see it, touch it and be near it. I can vividly remember certain outfits she wore and I've attached memories to so many of them, but to hold up an outfit and visualize her wearing it, it just becomes so painful that I can't bear to do it anymore. It's time to let this stuff go. What is okay, though, is seeing pictures of Sicily wearing these clothes. Those pictures make me happy. The pieces of colorful stitched together fabrics, by themselves, do not. This is what I keep in mind as I work through this process. I am holding onto a few things that she loved, like her Hello Kitty t-shirts and her adjustable button waste jeans that were sinched up with five inches of elastic showing on each side. She loved her jeans and t-shirts! I put some of her fall and winter clothing in a big consignment sale and tracked it as it sold. One outfit, in particular, I prayed would not come home with me after the completion of the sale. It turned out to be one that had such sad memories attached, I really needed for it to leave my possession...it was a bright yellow and navy flowered knit shirt with matching leggings and a navy blue skirt. She had it on while inpatient at the hospital the day we found out her cancer was terminal. I held the shirt up when I came across it and buried my face in my hands to catch the flood of tears. Holding onto something like that is not healthy. I am happy to report that on the second day of the consignment sale, it sold. I will admit to experiencing a waive of emotions, but more than anything, it was a huge relief. I anticipate this part of the roller coaster ride to continue with many highs and lows and twists and turns, but over time, I will also continue to adjust and adapt to what needs and has to be done! ; ) It's all about the healing process and my need to survive!
I know this will take time, as will the adjustments my parents are forced into making in their later years of life, but I still see God in every aspect of my daily surroundings. He continues to show Himself to me and I, humbly, continue to marvel at his unconditional love. I can't imagine trying to navigate through the treacherous waters that rise at a moments notice or attempting to keep my balance during these earthquakes of events in life if I didn't know that every second of every minute God is and always will be with me. His sufficient grace brings me to my knees and brings tears of thankfulness. I thank Him for Sicily's living and for her dieing...so many people were affected by her short little life. I thank Him for sparing my parents lives in that fire and for teaching me lessons through tragedy! It's a shame that's the way He has to get through to me sometimes! I think He made some of us a little too hard headed! ; )