This is a Really Real Trauma Post.
Five years ago today I woke up to the sound of fire alarms going off in the house we were staying in.
Parker and I grabbed our, “Coats and shoes, coats and shoes, coats and shoes” like had been barked at as over and over again while we went through the monthly fire drills at the shelter. We were still living a very condensed life at that point, we were lucky enough that a guy let us stay with him. Parker and I had most of our stuff in our room in the basement. Kidlet had a room upstairs because it was easier for him to get to when he was still healing from the accident 6 months earlier.
“Fire, Fire, Fire!” I figured someone was cooking, but for some reason, we grabbed our coats and shoes from the back of our door.
No one was on the first floor.
Kidlet met us on the stairs heading upstairs asking why he smelled smoke. We sent him outside and went looking for Kevin.
We tried to put the fire out and instead watched it spread. Everything we’d spent 6 months regaining, after spending months in the homeless shelter, we lost again. Most of Kidlet’s stuff that had been saved while we were homeless, was lost due to smoke damage.
We were so lucky to have friends and family who came to our aid. Kidlet’s electronics were replaced by friends, for Christmas. The place we went for therapy, gave gifts of clothes and gave Kidlet a handheld game system and some games. One friend spent hours washing all of Kidlet’s clothes repeatedly to try and get the smoke smell out.
We were even luckier that it was a relatively small fire that only consumed one room (with loads of smoke and water damage to the rest of the house) and that all of the humans walked out alive. We were devastated to lose Kidlet’s pet cat, Shadow.
Five years later I’m sitting outside with a fire in my fire pit. Smoke alarms only freak me out for a few minutes now. I no longer grab my “Coats and shoes, coats and shoes, coats and shoes” as soon as I hear one.
I live less than a block from the house where the fire happened. I pass the house pretty much every day. New tenants live there now, but there is still a little buckle in the roof line from the heat.
So much has changed in 5 years. At the time, it was one of the worst things I’d been through. At this point I know better than to test my luck by even trying to rate things because there’s always something worse out there.
But life gets better. And I’ve always had some pretty amazing friends and family around to help out after the tough times.