Monday, February 27, 2012

Sometimes, Alltimes, Anytime

One year ago today was just another Sunday. Then the smoke came.

Time is something beyond the comprehension of the human mind. Time is not a concept that we can grasp, like mathmatics or writing. There is no beginning and no end, and honestly I'm not sure if such a thing even exits. That day, one year ago, seems so far away. Like it happened in another life, or even to some one else. Yet in the same thought, that day was today. I can feel the fear and despair. I can smell the smoke. I can see every color of every blade of grass burning around me. Everything was so vivid. I suppose that was the adrenaline. I remember the feeling of not knowing, but knowing at the same time. I will never understand how time makes me feel these two opposite things at once. 

When a person thinks of what it must be like to lose their home in a fire, I assume, they of course are thinking of how awful it would be to lose their belongings. But really that is the easy part. They are gone, there is not much you can do about that. It is hard, but you really do stop missing them more as the days go by. The awful thing is what happens to your head. Thoughts are something we all like to think we have control over, but after something like this you really struggle with yourself about the things you start thinking and feeling. You have to struggle with anger and fear. You struggle with waking up and your head asks you why, what is the purpose of it all.  It's feeling like everyone around you, got on with their lives and they have all completly forgotten the pain that you still feel. And even though you know that everyone does it, we all do it to people around us, you still feel angry that life just goes on anyway. You hate that you have all these memories, and no one understands how everything is different to you. You hate that everything reminds you, and you have to actually put forth effort to block it out.  As crazy as it sounds, sometimes I want to go back to that day. I want to be there again. Maybe to validate why I feel or don't feel certain things. Maybe I just don't want to ever forget. 

I suppose this really isn't much of an "update", but it's what I wanted to say. Once again, time has done a funny thing of making it seem as though nothing has changed and yet everything has changed all at the same time.  It took me the entire year, and it's not finished, but I put together a mosaic. Still trying to figure out the grout part of the process, but you get the idea. I'm quite in love with this. I don't know how well you can see it, but it's things we found in the ashes. Plates, glass, jewelry, some keys, a pocket knife. 

Thank you all for reading. Sometimes, alltimes, anytime,  it feels good just to let it all out.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pavlov’s Dog

I could have been writing this whole time, but it would have all been the same. It has been one month since my house burnt down and I am in the exact same position I was in three weeks ago.

I finally made it over to my next house.  I would love to say that the wait is over, but it is not. We’ve moved stuff over, but it is not finished. I’m about to just start staying there and live like a squatter, I don’t even care anymore. But even then, it is only temporary.

I knew before the fire that where we were was not permanent, but now everything seems so pressing. The future is eminent. It is now.  Oh, if we could only have what we want, when we wanted it.  Poof – new house with everything in it! I should stop doing that to myself. It only makes things worse.

Unfortunately the future is still unknown. We have only looked at one place and I didn’t really care for it. But honestly we don’t have time to look at houses. It’s a vicious cycle. Work on moving into rent house, don’t get to comfortable because you’ll be moving into your house, look for your new house, stop looking for new house and move into rent house, work on moving into rent house. Over and Over and Over.

I’m retracting my statement that it would have all been the same. Some things are not the same. Leaving the house is not the same. Every time I walk out the door, I question whether what I’m leaving behind will still be there when I return. I have developed anxiety. For those of you that know me, you probably know this is a big deal. I’ve never had anxiety. I’ve always been a “whatever happens” kind of person. Now, I’m constantly a “what if this happens” kind of person. I HATE IT! I hate the thoughts that go through my head after every move I make. I can’t stop. I can’t turn a corner without some doom and gloom thought passing through.

Not having a home makes me anxious. My purse is full of all kinds of crap. It’s disgusting, but I’m such a mess there’s nowhere else for these things to go. They don’t have a place. Nothing has a place, so I just carry it all around with me. And every time I open my purse it reminds me that we have no place and I get anxious all over again.

The wind also gives me anxiety. Its scares the shit out of me actually. And then it pisses me off. I’m like Pavlov’s Dog.  Wind = Fire. Now instead of enjoying a breeze, I search the sky for smoke. I’m sick of being scared and anxious.

I’m sick of everything. It’s time for a Chance and Shandi Vacation!

On that note I will stop, with my pity update. Hopefully, next time you hear from me it will be more uplifting and positive. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed.

Thanks for Bursting my Bubble

The bubble of denial has finally burst. I’m frustrated. I’m angry.  I’m tired and I just want to go home and I can’t. It’s a horrible feeling not being able to just go home. I feel like a little kid that’s been running errands with mom all day. I don’t want to be blindly dragged along, I want to go home. It’s not even about the things anymore it is about the comfort of those things. It’s about not having that comfort anymore. I have lost my comfort zone. I can’t just go home and sit and be comfortable. Comfort is lost and it is going to be a long time before I find it again. Everything has changed now.  

Now it is just a waiting game. Everything is in limbo and it seems like my entire life is suspended in the air, hanging over my head.  For the last few weeks, I have had to just wait. It’s hard because all I want to do is move forward and I can’t. I have to sit here and wait.

When you’re waiting, all you can think is, What’s next. What now? When? How much longer until we DO something?
I drove to Dumas today. For those of you who have never made the drive to Dumas, it is a very vast…..nothingness.  It’s nothing but brown grass, dead shrubs and no trees. Desolate nothing. And that pretty much sums up how I feel. It is very depressing.

But, then you look up and in contrast there is the wide open sky. It is a perfect blue. It’s serene and calms my heart. No clouds or blemishes just vast openness and in engulfs everything. I guess that means there is hope. There is always room for something.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We Survived - Again.

Well this entire second week lasted as long as a blink of an eye. Its gone and over with and I still feel disorganized, but I can at least see some progress. Things are finally starting to slow down, but not much. We still run around like crazy.

I finally got the sleep I needed. I went to bed at 10:30 Friday and didn’t open my eyes again until my phone rang at 10:00 the next morning. Then I went right back to sleep and had a dream I have yet to determine the meaning of.

Chance and I were stranded in the ocean and we each had a big black box we were using to float.  I could see the lights of the coast getting closer.  A small boat with three men headed our direction. We were going to be saved. One of the men reached under the water with his foot and tried to pry my wedding ring off my hand.

We were not going to be saved, we were going to left to die in the hideous black water.  I fought and fought and my ring finally broke. I held onto the pieces between my fingers and wrestled my hand away.  I put the broken pieces of my ring in my mouth.

Then as dreams often do, or maybe I just don’t remember, everything skipped forward. We washed up on shore with nothing but the clothes on our backs and the broken pieces of my wedding ring in my mouth.  That’s all we had.

I there is good and bad in this dream.  It was so vivid and I don’t remember my dreams often, so I wanted to share it. It was terrifying, but we survived - again.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Live Simply

March 8, 2011

I am completely exhausted. I honestly don’t know how I am still functioning, albeit I am not functioning on a high level. We have stayed up late every night and been late to everything the next morning. Meet this person here. Pick up this, drop off that.  Call here and take care of that. Write this down and don’t forget this. Neither of us has sat down just to sit. At all. Even for a second.

I spent 3 hours on the computer trying to compile my contents list for the insurance and that was my “relaxing” evening. At least I got to sit down for a little while. However, my brain is so worn out, I can’t even speak a coherent sentence by the time my head hits the pillow. And once my head hits the pillow, it’s over. Lights out – Hello completely unconscious.

I think the disarray of our lives, is what keeps driving me forward. Every time I walk past a stack of clothes or paper, I have an impulse to try to get at least one piece of it where it should go. But then I run into, “What is it? Where did it come from? Where does it go?”  Next thing I know it’s been an hour and I’ve been walking in circles randomly putting things in random places. This leads to a long hours with little progress.

Not to mention, the piles of clothes and what-not everywhere, in every corner and on every surface, give me an anxiety attack each time I walk in the room.   I’m slightly OCD. I can’t just put them away. I have to know if they even fit. I don’t have room for things that don’t fit. So until I can try them on and make sure they fit, I can’t wash them. I can’t put them away if they haven’t been cleaned. So I’m up to my eyeballs in dirty clothes that I don’t even know if they fit. Once the clothes are clean, they go into another pile. Is this work or is this play? Hot or Cold? Where should I put it?  How am I going to do this? Am I going to finally get all this put away and then it will be time to move? 

Can you see why I am exhausted? I would love to sleep for days, but I can’t because my head would just keep going back to all the things that need to be taken care of.  I still have yet to even make it to the grocery store. We have been grabbing food whenever and wherever we can. I feel so overwhelmed and I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. How can there be this much to do and take care of?

You would think losing everything would simplify your life, not complicate it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

One lifetime to go

March 6, 2011

It has been one week. This one week has felt like an entire lifetime. How can something be so vivid in your mind and be so distant at the same time?

We went to run errands. On the way back, Chance drove straight past our turn. About sixty seconds later, he realized he was driving to our house that wasn’t there anymore. That’s like a sucker punch to the gut.

We met the insurance lady on Saturday. Turns out we have to list every item we owned. I happen to find that very cruel. I don’t want to sit down and remember everything we owned and I certainly don’t want to feel like I have to “prove it”. It’s making me angry just thinking about it. I assumed since the entire place was absolutely destroyed and the policy is minimal, they would just call it a day. Nope, here’s your stack of papers to fill out. We had triple the policy limit in assets, why force us to re-hash it?
Oh, and by the way go check your policy. Turns out that there is a limit on what you can claim for jewelry. $500.00 – yeah that was another one of those sucker punches. I told her I had one bracelet worth more than the limit, one bracelet out of my entire jewelry box.  “Sorry honey, that doesn’t mean shit to us. Guess you should have insured your jewelry separately.” You can imagine the awful things I was thinking.

I went to Red Cross. I can’t even describe the feelings and emotions that put me through. You’ll never know the feeling of being a “victim” and having to stand in line to receive assistance, unless you go through it yourself. Nothing can make you understand those emotions, I don’t even understand them. But Warren, my case worker (who was my hero that day), gave me a debit card! Which was awesome, because I didn’t need bottles of water. Thank You Red Cross. Seriously.

We took Bocephus to the scene of destruction. I thought he’d be all over the place, but he didn’t set a foot in the ashes. He didn’t want anything to do with it. I wonder how much he understands. Does he remember?

I came up to my office. Strangely, it was really really hard. We had spent several days grieving over the fact that all of our possessions were gone. My brain was finally comprehending and accepting the concept. Then I walk in my office and I have things. My possessions were right where I had left them. It was like being in the Twilight Zone. It wasn’t registering in my brain. I sat in my chair and looked at every item in the room. Every shelf, every picture, everything. I have things again. I felt a mixture of relief and anxiety at the same time. I don’t know why, but its hard to accept. Why are these things here and my other things are gone?  Why can’t everything just be where I left it? Why?

One week down. One lifetime to go.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

You Can't Go Back

Devastation is not just a word to describe the ruin of my home, it also describes what I feel every 15 minutes.  I can’t stop thinking of all the things I should have saved. All the things I could have thrown in my car and would be able to hold in my hands today. I can only distract myself for so long before they start creeping back into my thoughts. I can see myself standing there doing nothing, I want to reach out and push me as hard as I can.

I know what you are thinking. I’ve heard it over and over.  “It can all be replaced. Things are not important, what’s important is that you are alive.” 

But that’s not true. Some of those things will never ever be replaced.  The jewelry box my husband gave me the day after our wedding, so many pieces of jewelry that each had their own story, my writing book full of thoughts I wrote down so I would never forget, the page from a coloring book my sister colored for me when she was seven years old.  I could have grabbed any one of those things or a hundred others, but I didn’t. I just stood there. 

I’ve often heard people say “No Regrets.” I’ll never be able to say that.  Regret consumes me. In fact sometimes it seems I’m more upset about how I reacted, than about the actual loss.  I can’t even say that I tried and that kills me inside.

But, I can’t go back. I just have to hope that with each day the sickness of regret will stay away a little longer.  I have to repeat to myself- What’s done is done. It’s over and the sooner you come to peace with that, the better off you will be.  Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don’t.