Monday, December 13, 2010

Finding the new normal

We're in this strange in-between place.  It's not the shell-shocked crisis mode of the first few days after the fire, where I couldn't stop moving.  I literally paced back and forth for hours because if I sat and thought about what had happened, I started to cry.  Those first days were filled with the immediate decisions of day to day needs--discrete tasks that I could complete and feel at least some measure of control.We got emergency clothes for everyone. We found a place to live.  We rented furniture.

Those first few days, we were surrounded by friends and neighbors who worked hard to keep us warm, fed, and safe. We made a lot of bad fire and smoke jokes. We hugged each other a lot.

Now we are settled into our temporary apartment.  The immediate shock is worn off and the reality of the road ahead is starting to sink in.  There is an enormous amount of work to be done in terms of inventorying what was burned and melted in the basement and what cannot be cleaned elsewhere in the house.  It is a daunting task, made even more difficult by the damage to the house and the lack of heat.

There is an emotional cost to be paid every time I return to my home. Its price is not nearly as high as it could have been.  We are all here and the damage can be repaired.

We are still being held and supported by our various communities.  Friends have lent us artwork, the Sisterhood at our Temple has organized a meal brigade and we have had wonderful dinners prepared for us.  People continue to express their dismay and sadness, offering their help and support.

I am getting to the place where I don't want to talk about it anymore and maybe that's a healthy place.  My short answer is turning into:  We had a fire in the basement on Dec. 1st.  Everyone is okay, even the dog.  The basement and first floor will have to be gutted, but the house will be rebuilt. Check your smoke detectors: they saved our lives.

We still sit together at the dinner table, still make bad jokes and worse puns, still curl up on the sofa with the dog and watch movies together. I still nag the kids about their laundry and making their bed.  These are things that make wherever we are our home.

Thank you for continuing to hold us in your thoughts.

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