One of my friends / co-workers had a terrible shock this week—her home and all her belongings burned. She and her husband and two little girls lost everything they owned except for the clothes they were wearing that evening, a trampoline, a ride-on lawnmower and two sets of golf clubs that were stored in the garage. Not much left for a family of four.
Fortunately, she and her husband had house insurance, so their furnishings and personal possessions that can be replaced will be replaced; even their home will eventually be rebuilt and they will once again have their own roof over their heads. But what the insurance cannot replace, what no one can replace, are their possessions that are irreplaceable; pictures of my friend as a little girl, pictures of her little girls as babies, her childrens’ first Christmas ornaments, a Christening gown made for her older child by her mom gone too soon from breast cancer, all gone, burnt to ashes. All she has left now are memories she stores in her head, in her heart.
While this tragedy could have been worse—no lives were lost, luckily even the family dog was saved—it is still a tragedy, because the fire took away my friend’s past, and that is sad.
At work we took up a collection to help her out until the insurance comes through—a new school year is beginning soon and the girls need clothes and book bags and supplies, and my friend needs outfits to go to work; one pair of jeans and a summer top won’t be enough for long. The weather is cooling, jackets will soon be needed, and summer sandals won’t provide protection against the cold this fall.
We gave her an envelope with the money we collected; she didn’t want to accept it but after she stopped crying we told her to put her pride aside and think of what she needed at this moment, for her children, for her peace of mind. If we could have replaced the pictures, the Christmas ornaments, the Christening gown, we would have, but all we could offer was money. It wasn’t enough and we knew it, and she knew it, but it was something.
This tragedy has made me stop and think about my own home, my belongings that couldn’t be replaced if they were lost in a fire, my memories of my mother and my childhood that are captured in pictures and Christmas ornaments and my children’s coming-home-from-the-hospital outfits made by mom and cared for by me. I will write more about this at another time, on another posting, but for now I’m just going to say that I came home from work after witnessing my friend’s sadness, her overwhelming sense of loss, but also her sense of humour that is going to help carry her through this trying time, and I became determined to capture what I can of the memories I have, before fire or flood or age takes them from me, and I am left with memories in my head, in my heart, that I am unable to share with anyone else.
In the meantime please think of my friend, my co-worker, and of this trying time she is experiencing. If you have memories you want to save, if you have pictures you need to capture on CD or Thumb Drive, if there is anything you realize you would never be able to replace should it be lost to fire, than I ask you to please save it now, before it becomes just a memory you can only hold in your head or your heart.
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