My Home Burned Down Two Days Before Xmas

It was December 23 and I had just met a friend for a coffee after work. I was so excited and looking forward to the holiday. I was walking downtown with my friend and we smelled smoke. I was looking down the street wondering if something had exploded. My friend got a phone call from her sister-in-law who lives down the street from me. She took me by the arm and said, "This is you." We ran several blocks to my house. When we got there, the fire fighters had already broken through my front door. The flames were shooting through the semi-detached house attached to mine. I asked the firefighters to watch for my cat, but it was clear that the fire was bad and even though they assured me they would look for my cat, I could tell it was not their top priority. They fought the fire for hours into the wee hours of the freezing night. The water froze on the road. Crowds gathered to watch. Me and my friend took shelter at her brother's house. They offered for us to stay there that night. God bless them.

I watched my house burn and knew my poor beautiful cat was almost certainly dead. They found her body a few days later under the guest room couch. She was a lovely little girl. Losing her like that was heartbreaking. Losing everything else was hard and horrid, but seriously, I never cried for the stuff. I cried from the shock. I cried for my cat. I cried for having my life thrown into chaos and for being rendered homeless, but not for the stuff.

My neighbour went to jail for making hash oil in his apartment. That's what started the fire. The fire killed his animals in that house, too. Both homes had to be demolished.

Thanks to insurance, I have a gorgeous new house, now, built on the original lot. It's been almost a year, a hard year of rebuilding and navigating unfamiliar territory, not knowing what I was doing and totally out of my depth.

I have also experienced the kindness and generosity of great friends, neighbours and colleagues and have been deeply touched by the feeling of having my community's arms close around me.

I have lost everything I own only to realize none of it mattered and that my relationships are the true treasure of my life. I am a single woman. It rocked my world to witness the support I had from my community. The kindness was devastating. I had nothing but the clothes on my back at Xmas time last year and yet knew myself to be a blessed woman.
squeezesnack squeezesnack
46-50, F
Dec 5, 2012