In a sad little ironic twist that life seems so intent on sending my way, I wrote about getting rid of possessions and starting over yesterday and then got a call from a friend of mine today who just lost everything.
Last Sunday, after Easter festivities had ended and all their guests had gone home, she got everything cleaned up, put her kids and her (slightly tipsy) husband to bed and prepared to turn in herself. And then she decided to go downstairs and give the kitchen one last go-over, just to make sure she hadn't forgotten anything. That's when she noticed the smell of smoke.
She traced the smell outside and found that something had caught fire in one of the trash cans. The flames were by this time climbing up the far wall of the garage and were spreading quickly.
She ran back inside, roused the kids and her husband, let the dog out of the basement and ran outside. They grabbed the hose by the side of the house and found that it wouldn't work...they had turned off the outside water for the winter and had not yet turned it on.
By the time the fire department arrived a few minutes later, the house was completely engulfed.
The important thing, of course, is that they are all safe. Nobody was hurt. Her family is intact.
But her house! And her stuff. (This, coming from me, the one on the anti-stuff bandwagon.)
But there's stuff, and then there's STUFF. Baby pictures. Wedding albums. Stuffed animals and woobies. Christmas ornaments, the clock that she and her father made together when she was 14. His mother's bowls that she brought over from Italy and gave to them for a wedding present. All gone.
She sounded so, so tired when I talked to her.
And this weekend, she and her husband have to catalog an entire lifetime worth of stuff to submit to the insurance agency.
I am so sad for her. But at the same time, so happy that she is experiencing an outpouring of love and support from her community.
She told me that by Monday afternoon, they had recieved bags of clothing from friends and strangers so that the kids could go to school and they could go to work. She was contacted by a family that has had a house on the market for 18 months. Nobody is living in it. They offered up their house to her family for a ridiculously low rental price for as long as they need until their house is rebuilt. They have received a laptop. Shoes. Shampoo. Soap. Toothpaste. Pens and pencils, notebooks, new backpacks for the kids.
Sometimes people are so nice I want to burst.
As for me, I'm going to facebook message some friends from college to see if we can get them some giftcards. I wish I could do more.
Tonight, all I could do was stay with her on the phone so we could cry together.