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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Writing

      There are signs everywhere you look. All you have to do is observe. I have a small laptop that I write on. A few years ago my house burned to the ground. It was horrible. My family lost everything. All we had on were our pj's and that was about it.

      John managed to get Jacob, Joshua and Sarah out while I grabbed Carolyne. At first, I loaded the kids in the car while John went next door and called in the fire. All I could think was I wanted to make sure the kids stayed rounded up while we waited for the fire truck to get there. I paced back and forth, feeling helpless about the situation. My feet hurt, because I didn't have any shoes on and I stepped on some sticks. It didn't take but a minute, and we both realized the dogs were still in the kennel. John tried to go into the house and get them, but the fire was so hot that it burned the side of his face and body too much for him to stay. When he came out, half his face looked like it was sun burned and his lip was bleeding because he bumped something.

      The neighbors came out and they volunteered to take the kids next door while we waited outside. I don't remember agreeing, but that's what happened. When the firemen were fighting the fire, a small patch of fire jumped to the ground towards the house where the kids were. I started screaming. I thought that house was going to burn too. It was just a few feet away from ours so I was sure that it was going to catch fire. One of my friends, who is a real sweet person hugged me and let my cry on her shoulder while the firemen put the ground out.

      I think it was about three am when the fire was finally put out all the way. I remember feeling numb, like it was all a dream or some sort of surreal mind trip, you know the kind where you're sure that the body your in isn't your own. Tired, shocked and confused, John and I sat down and talked with a red cross agent. truth be told, I didn't think the man was speaking English because I couldn't understand a word he said. More than likely, it was the shock of the whole situation, because I couldn't understand anything that was said to me.

      I called my dad on the neighbors phone. I remember saying, "Daddy, our house burned down." while I cried on the phone. I don't remember the rest of the conversation accept that he offered to have us come home.  There are times when I wonder what would have happened if we would've taken him up on the offer. I turned it down though because I just got a new job at a cell phone company with all the best benefits there were. The thing is, I ended up with PTSD, so I wasn't able to focus on the job I was being trained for. The tapping on every one's keyboard and the small confined space of the cubical on top of the sound the phones made kept bringing me back to that night. When my car broke down and I couldn't get to work, I was thankful and I soon left the position. I didn't know I had PTSD, I think if I had, it would have been different.

      The whole town pitched in to make sure we had everything we needed, including putting us up at a hotel while we waited to move into the house we have now. It has taken us about three years to rebuild. When I was finally able to get my laptop, it was like a symbol to me. We made it through. Once again, I could write and not have to retype what I had written. All my disks made it through the fire, but the paper copies and my journals didn't make it. That's ok though, because once again I'm building what I lost in that area.

      You can rebuild everything accept people and pets. You can survive just about anything if you see past it to something better. There are signs everywhere and all you have to do is look. When my disks made it through the fire, that was a sign. Here's why: They were sitting next to the computer that melted into a flat piece of plastic. They should have melted too. Instead, the were in pristine condition, not even smoke damaged.

      In that single night, we may have lost all our belongings, but what we gained was so much better. I now look around for signs to guide me. What is the universe trying to say? I may not always see them, but they are there. I'm thankful that my family made it and still sad about the dogs, but that's ok. We made it through.

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