But then, it’s not all about me, is it. Here’s what happened: Last week, I went to Alabama, to work on The New House. It’s ready to paint and while I didn’t know how much would get done, I knew some of it would. The plans were to get the 3 rooms (2 bedrooms and a bathroom) primed and painted. So, Thursday and Friday were spent doing just that. I got one room entirely primed and painted, and the other 2 primed. Then…
Friday night, I went to supper and a movie with #3 and his Fine Wife. Grandpunkin was spending the night with the other grands. The Fine Wife left the movie early, as her contacts were bothering her. As #3 and I were leaving the theater parking lot, he got a panicked call from her…”THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE”. A 15 minute drive was made in less than 10, and…well. The house was on fire. Utterly and completely, flames out of all the windows in that “there’s no hope for that house.” kind of way. Firetrucks, police, the whole thing. Fine Wife was in a state, #3 was panicking about the dogs (I saw them in the truck and was able to reassure him), it was…well. It was a real thing to go through. I don’t know what else to call it.
The next morning, it was all still smoldering, but just rubble. 3 of their cats had been caught in the house and were found under (what remained of) the bed. That was really upsetting. However, the barns, goats, chickens, and one cat were fine (other than the obvious emotional trauma) (Ok the chickens didn’t seem upset but they’re chickens.)
I think the hardest part is seeing my kids losing a lot of their touchpoints, bits of their lives that were so significant. #3 had stuff that belonged to Himself. Fine Wife had collections from her childhood. There was furniture Himself and Himself’s father had made, some from over the years, and some for Grandpunkin specifically. As we stood at the fence and watched the house burn, Fine Wife turned to me and said “oh no….my wedding dress!” (I’d made it for her). I said “I still have some of the fabric left, it will be ok.”
I’ve never lost (most) everything like that. Losing Himself was the big loss I’ve been through, so I understand what loss feels like. However, I haven’t lost the stuff of my childhood, or the gifts from times past, wedding gifts, or special things with precious memories attached, so I can’t claim to know how they feel. I can only understand the sick feeling. I know it’s different, and like any big deal thing, I don’t think anyone can say they know how it feels unless they’ve been through just that very thing.
They’re going to be ok. A lot of people have helped with donations and time. They’ll get a household set back up in good time. They won’t ever get back the childhood stuff and maybe this will force a growing up that would have come anyway, but slower. I am not sure about any of it. I am proud of them for the way they are handling it all. They have people in their lives that know what to do, and how they really need to be helped. I am very thankful for that.
It would be very easy to despair, to yell at God and demand an explanation. That didn’t happen, though. They accepted that things happen, however unpleasant those things might be, and no one is too special to be immune from it. They know that things are going to be complicated and messy for a while, but they are smart and resilient and will do just fine.
And I realized I don’t like the paint color I chose for The New House.