It’s been a year since the fire that destroyed everything but the clothing my son and I had on our backs and though I sometimes struggle with the word ‘grateful”, more than anything… I struggle with my emotions. It’s a constant battle between feeling guilty about the things I took for granted a year ago, while being grateful about the things I have now, all while cherishing precious memories. It’s exhausting and confusing at the same time.
At first, I took things second by second. I was in shock and grieving at the same time. I had panic attacks and I ate way too much. And though I’ve gotten better, I still have moments of shear disbelief. I will still cry when I think of my dogs perishing in that fire. I have a great therapist but honestly… the lyrics to Donnie McClurkin’s song “Stand” puts it in perspective: “After you’ve done all you can, you just stand…”
God has sustained me.
I agonized as this one-year anniversary approached because though I’m doing well… I still have such a long way to go to rebuild both emotionally and financially. Sometimes I feel people have forgotten about my trauma and all it entails to pull this off in the public eye. Beyond the fire, I also have my 5-year-old granddaughter living with me, my son is battling depression and guilt from the fire and my father fractured his hip and can no longer take care of my mom, leaving the day-to-day stuff to my siblings and me. So. my day looks like this:
- Get up
- Take Gbaby to school (pay out-of-pocket)
- Go to work
- Pick Gbaby up
- Go to mom & dad’s
- Get mom ready for bed
- Go home
- Get Gbaby ready for bed
- Buy food
- Buy gas
- Pay Bills
Repeat week after week after week…
In the meantime, where we used to live is being rebuilt… an entire new building with all our memories hauled away. I never got to say goodbye to my dogs. I lost the ring my mom gave me that came from her mom. The cedar hope chest filled with antiques, radio station memorabilia and years and years of pictures. The precious prayer my mom wrote out for my son and I years ago and the Bible she inscribed. She can no longer write and moving on from that has been at best… excruciating.
Moving on seems easy for the company I was displaced from. Not so much for me. But I’m getting there.
Right now, I’m at home (Finally feels like home) enjoying about 1.5 hours of peace. While I’m enjoying the 1.5 hours, I’m washing my parent’s laundry and listening to a steady rainfall outside. My plans are to stay here another year, get my gbaby back on solid ground and get my son out on his own. I need to move on. Move forward. For me.
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