Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Flame-Fish's Story

Warning: Sappy reading ahead. Just keepin' it real, folks.

In the days immediately following the fire, our younger kids used their homework journals to process the trauma. For quite some time afterward, I was too raw to really appreciate their stories. I actually broke down and cried at their school when I read Little Bean's depiction of the fire, complete with "my daddy almost died." (He didn't, but imagine how scared she must have been to think that.) The months have passed and the wounds have closed a bit and now I am ready to wrap myself around their stories and share them with you.

I want to share Fish's story with you. She titled it "The Flame." Fish is eleven and I am typing her story exactly as she wrote it- please forgive any errors- except for changing the kids' names. The ending makes me cry big, happy tears.

My dad, my three sisters, my brother and I just left the house to go to the grocery store. When we got back my dad stepped out of the car, and said "it smells like burning plastic." We all smelt it. My brother and us stepped out of the car and he said "it smells like someone is barbequing." Then, he pointed down the street and said I think its coming from down there. By the time he finished his sentence, my dad had the door open yelling "call 911." My brother and sister pulled out their cell phones, and dialed  911. I was very scared. When the police answered the phone they asked my sister "this is the police. What's your emergency?" She stood there quietly for a second and then she said "I don't know." She turned around to dad who was running inside with the water hose. She suddenly caught on. Oh the house is on fire!!!! By then they thought it was a prank. When they got here my dad was inside spraying at a big red glowing ball right over the picture cabinet. He thought it was fire but it was wood, dust, and heat particles getting ready to ignite. I was horrified. 

Mom was not there yet. She was still at work. Tuna (my older sister) had already called her but she didn't answer. When she finally got mom on the phone Tuna was screaming so mom was on her way and she took forever. When she finally got there, Jai and Jenny (my dogs) were out on the lawn, but Jai was a black mop of soot and they both had pnuemonia. There was one pet that didn't make it through the heat, it was a beirded dragon named Merlin. We had 1 lizzard, 1 fish, 2 frogs, and 2 dogs. Oh and we can't forget the hermit crab who surprisingly lived. I don't know how it survived. 

That night before we left our neighbor Becky gave us dinner and dessert. She is the best neighbor I have had. After we left we went to a hotel called the La Quinta and met a lady named Ryan. She was really nice. For the few weeks we were there no one changed our laundry or brought in soap cause they were scared of our dog Jai. Now we our in a rental house in ___. Hopefully soon we'll be back home. So if something trajic ever happens to you like this remember me. I'm telling you this "don't be afraid everything will be ok you'll make it through."

Let me just say something here about La Quinta. Please know they were fabulous! The reason we did not get clean sheets is because the housekeeping staff were terrified of our Great Pyrenees, and well...he does look like a small polar bear.The people there were wonderful and they even coordinated all of our many visitors and drop offs. Oh, and they had hot chocolate always available in the lobby, which would explain why the kids beg to stop there every time we drive by the place. 

This is the photo Fish wants to share with you:

Our home as a disaster scene.
This photo is still rough on me. The lady in mask and gloves is from the fire restoration service. She is there to package up anything salvageable for cleaning. At this point, our carpets and the bottom few feet of wall had been removed as part of the water remediation effort so the furniture and what not are all jumbled in the middle of the room. The ceiling fan is drooping in the top of the photo. Seeing a stranger in our home in a mask working with a flood light still seems a bit surreal. 

So there ya go. The Flame, by Fish.    

Take note, if anything tragic like this ever happens to you, remember this amazingly resilient little girl. Everything will be ok. You will make it through. 

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