Friday, December 27, 2013
This is the last painting I was able to paint before our house caught fire the weekend before Thanksgiving. I am so thankful that I was home to get my three dogs out of the house as I was supposed to be at a doctor's appointment but wasn't feeling well that morning so I stayed home to take a nap. I must have smelled the smoke in my sleep because I started having strange dreams about lighting candles and woke up to noises in the kitchen and when I went to check, the kitchen was already in flames. I ran to get the dogs in the bedroom and when we got outside, I realized that I didn't have our older dog, Chaney. I went back inside several times to find him but the smoke was too bad and I couldn't breathe. As soon as the fire department arrived, I climbed over the fence ( I couldn't get the gate open) and was screaming that there was a dog inside and the fireman ran inside. Within a couple of minutes, which seemed like eternity, he walked out with Chaney. To this day, I don't know how he was able to breath in that house for as long as he did. He was covered in soot, a white dog that looked totally gray. In fact all of our dogs were gray by the time it was all over.
I waited in the ambulance for them to put the fire out. Meanwhile, the fire marshall brought me a pair of Uggs from my bedroom. I hadn't even noticed that I didn't have shoes on although it was 27 degrees outside. He said he hoped I didn't mind him looking for a warm pair of shoes for me. He also said that he was calling the Red Cross for me because I wouldn't be able to stay in the house - I was in such a state, I just agreed. When I was finally able to get back in the house, my family had arrived and looked scared to death. There must have been 8 or 9 fire trucks blocking traffic. I walked inside the house and was absolutely horrified. The walls and ceiling were black with soot. The kitchen was ruined. The ceiling in the kitchen and living room was burned and gone. My furniture was ruined, all the blinds throughout the house were melted as was my television in the living room. All the glass in the pictures on the wall was broken and there was glass everywhere. I must have been in shock because I was focusing on the cobwebs on the ceiling because they were very black with soot and I was feeling embarrassed that I actually had cobwebs in the corners.
My kids stepped in and took over. My niece drove our dog Chaney to my daughter's house and she and my daughter-in-law bathed and shaved him all afternoon to get the soot out of his coat. He continues to stay there as he can't walk up the stairs at our hotel. He won't let them sleep upstairs so they have been sleeping downstairs on the floor with him for a month. My other niece took the other two dogs to her house and bathed both of them and kept them overnight. She has been babysitting them all month while I'm at work so they don't have to stay in the hotel room alone. My son and daughter in law stepped in and hosted Thanksgiving at their house on a really short notice and did a wonderful job of cooking their first holiday dinner.
It's been over a month since the fire. We are still in the hotel. Many of our belongings were destroyed in the fire. Furniture, television, beds, all the kitchen items, and many more things I don't even know about yet were either burned or too damaged by smoke to keep. All of those things can be replaced. I am so thankful that it just my "things" that I lost. It could have been so much more. I believe that God gave me such a blessing when I was home that day.
I struggle with the "why" the fire happened, why it happened to me, what did I do wrong, what was I supposed to learn from it, what was the lesson, where is the blessing in the fire? I think I may have seen it on Christmas when my kids decided among themselves not to exchange gifts and instead, replace all of our kitchen items that we lost.
We are hoping to be out of the hotel in a couple of weeks. Living in one room, microwave cooking every meal and wearing the same clothes over and over is getting old. I'm so looking forward to cooking a meal - I feel that I will never eat fast food or processed food again! Until then, I guess I will go warm up a can of soup….
Until next time….