Tuesday, December 11, 2012

1 Year Anniversary

As I load these pictures and scan through them I can smell smoke.  It's on my hands and in my hair. It wafts in my office door from the living room. I get up and check even though I know it is only in my mind.  

This happens more frequently than I'd like to admit.

Sometimes it's the smell that comes to me, other times it's the crackling of the water system, the light fog from our humidifiers, or the flicker of tail lights in the window.  I smell, hear, or see the fire on almost a daily basis.

Today is the 1-year anniversary.  While December 10th sticks in my mind because it is the last day we had in our house, it was the night we went to sleep before our lives were forever changed, officially it was 1 am December 11th that the "incident" occurred.

My plan was to have written the story to start sharing it with you, in its entirety, today.   Unfortunately that just hasn't happened.  Work deadlines, Christmas preparations, life, has just gotten in the way lately and the thought of needing to write it, to sit down and put myself back there, is causing me stress.  So it's going to have to wait. In the New Year I anticipate the pace to slow around here, just a little, and I promise I will write it then.  

I ran across these pictures on my computer last night and thought I'd share them with you.  I don't look at these often but when I do I'm always gently reminded of what matters most.  The shell of our house remained standing despite several hours of flames torching everything on the inside.  The main living area of the house was literally dust when the fire was finally put out.  There's a metaphor here, I'm certain of it.  Maybe more than one.  And it's fitting that this happened right before a special religious holiday.  

If we had the ability to strip it all away, remove everything in our lives, material possessions, children, family, friends, and were left standing as an empty shell of ourselves what would we choose to fill ourselves and our lives back up with?  

This has been an exceptionally difficult year as we've struggled to put our lives back together and battled through depression, night terrors, and panic attacks. But in some ways I'm grateful for the experience.  I'm grateful that my relationship with my husband is stronger, I'm grateful for each day I get to spend with my kids and the extra special blessing of Nolan's arrival, I'm grateful for all of those who offered us assistance and aid, who reached out to us in many circumstances when they didn't even know us.  I am in awe of people on a daily basis.  Life is good.  People are good.  God is good.  And when it is all striped away, these are all that matter.

Keaton & Hutton's nursery the day after the fire.  All I see when I look at this picture is the outline of the cross on the wall.  And that's all I want to see.  That's all I need to see.


Tracy Over said...


Speechless. Does not happen to me often.

I remember the tweet that went out.
I remember thinking about your boys and hugging mine a bit tighter. Hoping that the small gifts we sent made a difference. Never imagining that I would become a twitter friend and a blog follower months later.

I am glad things are getting back in order and can only imagine the strength that it took to get this far. You are an amazing family!!

Jill said...

I still remember Andy telling me he saw the post on facebook. It was gut-wrenching. You hear of it happening to people, but never someone you know. I can't describe the relief when I knew you were all safe, but still the lingering pain for you and all you had lost.

And yet now, looking back a year later, your family has come so far. And not that you didn't appreciate things before, but just that much more now. Even though you will always have those painful memories, I'm glad that you have been able to see so much good through the tragedy. That's a testament to your faith and your strength! I'm especially thankful that you are all safe and healthy, you have a handsome new addition to your family and are in your beautiful new house. That's a wonderful "gift" to appreciate this holiday season!

Anonymous said...

Oh Kate, just seeing these pictures breaks my heart all over again for you guys. I remember that call from my brother that morning telling me what had happened. I remember calling Collin's parents house before 7am just to hear you were all ok. And I remember your soft cry as you told me what happened.
I'm so happy that you all are ok. I'm so happy that things are starting to get back to normal for you all. It's about time, you guys deserve that. Look how far you've come in a year, when at the time, a year was so very far away.
Love you guys!!!

Katharine said...

Oh Kate, you made me cry. I am so happy you came through the fire and came through this year. And you did so with grace and courage. Lots of love from our family to yours!