December 28, 2016

Thankful after a Fire

Beautiful November day - this has been a long and warmish autumn in Michigan, at least in most of the state. Weather so luscious, you can take your jacket off, walk through town, kick up the brittle, crunchy leaves, and feel thankful. Isn't that what this month is, in particular, all about? Being appreciative of what we have?

I am thinking back to October of 2008. A disturbing phone call in the morning from our oldest daughter in Kalamazoo. There was a fire, she got out, she lost everything, her cat is dead. Apparently, a careless smoker tossed a butt into the dry leaves on his balcony - the apartment next to our daughter's place. Jessica was startled awake by the deep and acrid smell of smoke, disoriented, she grabbed her purse and ran down the stairs as the flames poured out of the rooms. She had NO time to consider taking other items as it was a life and death race to the safety of outdoors.

My husband and I had a frantic one and a half drive to Kalamazoo not knowing much except that our daughter was in psychic, mental and spiritual pain. Her body was spared.

The Red Cross trucks covered the parking lot as we ran into the office to grab our Jessica and hold her. The story above spilled out of her and with deep despair she told us her cat had died - many did in the fire as they hid in various "safe" locations, then the floors collapsed.

We helped ourselves to cups of coffee provided by the Red Cross and sat down with our daughter as a volunteer stood before us and said they found a very very large cat - it was crated in the back room. It was Pol, Jessica's cat. God blessed our daughter in discovering that her precious cat was alive: singed brows and very smokey, but alive and demanding to know what happened and wanting her "mom" to rescue her from the trauma.

Pol was found safe but charred
Jessica lost everything she owned but had her life! A backstory is that her mother died when Jessica was an infant and we worked to create a scrapbook filled with Belinda's friend's stories and remembrances of her, pictures of her, little pieces of memorabilia. It was gone, burned to a crisp. But, Jessica had her life!

Thinking how life would have changed for the entire family, my chest is constricting into spasms. My eyes perk with tears, and I thank God. Every moment is precious - life is precarious and filled with not only pain but great joy. Ours is going to be joy as this Thanksgiving, we are thankful, in particular, to our eldest, sweet and precious daughter, Jessica.

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