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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Set Backs

Over six months ago I hit a major set back in my recovery and growth.  It was suppose to be a day to celebrate my recent promotion and say goodbye to my current co-workers.  The day took a drastic turn when we received a phone call from my cousin that our shed was on fire.  I remember hearing the word fire and looking the direction of our home and at five miles away seeing the massive amount of dark smoke rising from the trees.

Immediately panic set in and I felt out of control sitting in the back seat as my dad raced to our home. If you were to ask me what was worse the unknown or grim reality; I do not think I could give you an an answer.  I felt like we pulled into a war zone or a horrible nightmare.  My immediate intentions was to move my car but instantly realized that would not be happening since it was ablaze.  The only thing we were able to move was my Dad's semi.

I cannot honestly tell you how long it was until the fire department arrived.   I do though remember my poor pregnant cousins standing there crying as she held her young son.  We all seemed to be shouting at each other.  My cousins's husband kept telling my dad to stay away from the fire.  I kept pleading with my Dad to let me sneak in the backside of our house and get out our dogs.  Our shed isn't far from our home and we didn't know if the house would be next to set ablaze.

What made the shouting and panic even worse was the magnitude of the heat and sounds coming from the fire.  Our shed is a 60x40 foot shed that had become a catch all for our belongings.  It sounded as if it was filled with fireworks but it was various things exploding.  We were unsure at any moment what would be next to explode.  Would our propane tank that was attached to the shed and our home be next?

My Dad and cousins's husbands became my heroes when then risked their safety and ran into our home to save all nine dogs.  Don't worry we are not hoarders; we have fosters and dog sit.  I can now laugh at the thoughts of these grown men running our of our house with fury little dogs tucked under their arms.

The fire department arrived and immediately were able to start watering down the propane tank as well as our home to prevent further damage.  Unfortunately there was not much left of the shed or my car.

We were very fortunate there was only exterior damage to our home. The roof, siding and one window will need to be replaced.

The events of the day did not really hit me until that night.  I think it helped that so many of our friends and family arrived to see how they could help.  In true style,our family laughed and joked; the only way we seem to know how to deal with stress and emotions.  Those that didn't know us probably thought we were off our rockers.

The hard thing is you can only joke and laugh for so long.  That evening I did something, so out of my comfort level, I crawled into my dad's lap and cried.  I felt so ashamed to be sad over the loss of possessions.  I know everyone kept repeating how lucky we were that no one got hurt and we didn't loose the house but that didn't make my pain any less. Six months later I still struggle with the shame of being sad for the loss of my possessions.

Almost everything that I owned was in that building and burned.  When I had moved into my parent's house I had only brought my clothing, tv and a few books into the house.  I know that all of that stuff can be replaced in some aspect but for example we can't replace the blanket my grandma crocheted for me.  The things I had been given over the years from my various grandmother's were very special to me. Most of the stuff was burned beyond recognition but a few of my belongings that were on the far end of the shed were recognizable.

These are pictures of my two prize possessions first is my books. I had a lot of books!! My family hated every time I moved.  I cannot in all honestly say how many books were out there but it was well over 700.  I dreamed of one day having my own library and had been collecting books as long as I can remember.  I dreamed of the day I could share them with my nieces and nephews.  The second is a picture of the bunny my dad gave me the day I was born.

The week was a roller coaster of emotions.  I have never felt so loved and cared for as I did that week.  Our friends and family were amazing.  They were there to help with the clean up, providing tools and even meals.  My work family was wonderful they not only covered my remaining shifts at work but gave me a gift card to eventually start replacing my belongings.

The nights though were very hard I was faced with horrible nightmares.  I had the constant fear that our house would start on fire.  It took several days for us to physically tear down and clean up the shed.  During that time the wood beams were still burning and often at night we would have to go out and spray them down with water.  It was also 4th of July weekend and the fireworks were not welcoming sounds.

I became a mess to put it mildly.  I had no control over my emotions: I was scared of every little noise and weird smell.  I did not want to leave our house.  I thought if I stayed there I could prevent anything else bad from happening.  I felt like a little girl who just wanted to be protected by her mom and dad.  I guess looking back now I know on a positive note it made my relationship stronger than ever with my parents.

I had to start my new job the following week.  It became a welcome distraction but a distraction was all it was.  I was not dealing with all that had happened my fears and guilt.  I still was not really sleeping and I had started to gain a lot of weight.  I found energy and comfort from junk food. I soon realized I couldn't go on this way it was time for help.

I'm not ashamed to say I had to go on extra medications to get me through that time.  I also got myself back into counseling - this is one of the blessings I know that came out of this situation.  It did not happen over night but I started making progress.  I know that I have made progress because I am sitting here writing.  Yes I did have a set back but I tackled it and I am moving forward.

I would like to say though one important thing I learned during this event was compassion.  There were so many people that were wonderful and understood my pain and did not judge.  There were those that kept repeating "well at least no one was hurt and it was only stuff".  I get that and I know we are truly blessed that no one was hurt.  What I don't get is who gets to determine what warrants tears? Who has the right to determine whether or not your pain and suffering is just.  I hope that I will always remember my tears and give others there time to cry how little or big I may think the situation is.