“What if the house burns to the ground?” “What would we do?” “I couldn’t bare to lose everything.”
These were my thoughts as I drove into work this morning knowing there was a fire nearby. By mid morning an emergency warning had us rush home. We needed to tend the animals and pack the cars “just in case”.
What do you take? What would you take? I scrambled around the house like a woman possessed parroting “That can be replaced, that can’t…over and over. I threw things into the car from laptops, phones, passports, photos and the most random selection of clothes you have ever seen. I grabbed undies, runners and a dress or two!! I looked in the fridge, why? I don’t know!
When push came to shove my thoughts went to losing my late husbands and my partners late wife’s things. I know they are the only things, but they are what we have left of them. You can’t take away the bits I have left. Tears surfaced a couple of times, not because I cared about the house, but the fire sparked some of the grief manicness I thought I had long left behind. The same manic gestures I had turned to at the height of grief. It caught me by surprise.
The smoke thickened and I could see flames across the lake, that was enough for me. We could have stayed but I am the only parent my kids have left and “just in case” had arrived in my heart. I had to leave. I drove away with the cat screeching and clawing at his cage and stress rising in my heart.
I had to let it go, let it all go, just in case.
Paul and Julie were people, not things, they live in our hearts and our memories and will do forever. But I was sad at the prospect and needed to sit and write to let me sadness come to the surface so I could move on. So I could open my heart again. So I didn’t get stuck.
We are sitting at friends now away from the smoke, and the firefighters have taken care of our house and everything is safe. It could have been different. It has tested my need for those belongings. I don’t need them like I thought I did, but for now I will hang onto them, just in case. In case I need their comfort.
Just in case.