Butterfly Sparks Designs

Thursday, January 28, 2010

the phone call

I didn’t cry until Michael mentioned my wedding dress. Prior to that moment I was just stunned. I thought of furniture--a cozy recliner he bought to nurse my babies comfortably, an antique table we bought when we first married. I was still okay even as I remembered that the things we were passionate about, the things we used to unwind, were destroyed--golf clubs, recording equipment, sewing machines, craft supplies, pre-school books and materials for the kids. No, the piercing of my heart didn’t happen until we both remembered that the computer with all of our pictures of the kids’ births and first years was in the shed. When the realization occurred that symbols of all the memories we held dear were gone...early pictures of our parents, our honeymoon pictures, michael’s drawings, every piece of paper that proved he had a successful music career, and that he was celebrated as a songwriter, videos of our chidrens’ births that we had all worked hard to accomplish...As I inventoried our “stuff” in my mind and could no longer state, “that can be replaced,” ...that’s when I officially lost it.


One side of me kept saying...but the babies are okay. Michael’s okay. No one was hurt in the unexpected electrical fire that took down our shed and all of its’ contents. And it’s true. Things could have been MUCH, MUCH, MUCH worse. Our little house, 20 ft. from the shed, was untouched, even in the 40mph winds. After concluding the conference in San Francisco where I heard the news, I was able to fly home to the very alive, very comforting arms of my family. Hallelujah and Amen!
But a conversation I had with a friend months before kept replaying in my head. She told me how she never really grieved a tremendous loss she and her husband faced. That unresolved experience was still affecting her. And so she and her husband bravely did something about it. Now, if you were comparing her loss and mine, you’d vote for her. But loss is hard regardless and it was she who reminded me that grieving was important no matter how big or small of a deal it is that we lost a bunch of “things.” I think we did grieve, and may have a day or two left in us. Then we’ll be good. I imagine on birthdays (I used to watch my kids’ birth videos on their birthdays) I’ll be a little sad. I feel strongly though that part of life’s maturing process is to really feel those emotions we have without letting them paralyze us. Let the emotions fuel us and inspire us to respond positively, and maybe even with action. An action response, in this case, might be to remind families to back up all of their pics on CDs and put those CDs in a fire-safe box!!!


I will never forget Michael kneeling next to me first time I went to see the damage. I had found my oldest’s scrapbook--the only one I made time to put together. As I dug through each of the pages fused together by an inferno, I clung to the idea that I would find something to keep. Amazingly enough, there was. And he sat there, silently, just holding any black, charred remnant I handed to him. The kids were running wild around the yard, and he still just sat with me. These are the moments that draw our hearts nearer to one another. Without that fire, I would not have experienced that tender moment with him, a moment that puts more cement on my allegiance to his kind heart. Gifts. These moments are gifts in our lives. And that moment is a new memory. One that wasn’t in the fire. One that didn’t get “burned up” to use my daughter’s description. So there you stinkin’, destroying blaze. You’re not going to break us. It’s rebuild time. We’ve really simplified now and we’re awarded a fresh start in a sense. We’ll feel sad when we have to but we will also keep moving forward and do a better job at preserving what we can from here.

Here are some images of the graveyard, so to speak. For whatever reason, getting to take these pictures was good for me. They’re not super-technically right or the perfect composition. They are really just necessary. Therapy. And you can believe they’re going in a fire-safe box. :)


amerriman said...

Oh Jen, I am so sorry to hear that. I am sure you are heart broken. Thinking of you!

Jenibug7 said...

ooooh, i am so sorry, friend! but you are right, it was just "stuff". you have the memories in your heart. your family has pics you can get copies of. you can move forward and add this as part of your kids' "story". praying for yall as you grieve tho!! love you!

amerriman said...

We are in a area called Shady Hollow - it is close to Brody and Slaughter. I would love to see you and the kids, email me anrye@hotmail.com

Simply Divine Photography said...

Dear Jen...
Words cannot truly express how sorry I am about your loss...yes, I know only too well about the ability to keep memories alive in our hearts, but sometimes it's imperative to be able to phyiscally see them, touch them, hold them. The loss of your physical memories is great and my heart goes out to you and your family. I will keep all of you in my prayers!