Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm Grateful...

My Mom's home caught on fire last week.

Thank God for nosy neighbors that saw the smoke and called the fire department.

They found her unconscious in her smoke-filled home and pulled her out to safety. They rescued one of her cats, the other one has gone AWOL.

As soon as I got an email that she was at the hospital, I left the kids with the husband and got there as fast as I could. I found her in the emergency room, alert and alright, albeit smelling of smoke and with sooty hands. She had smoke-inhalation issues and they had her hooked up to oxygen, IVs and other things to discharge the chemicals from the smoke out of her body.

I went back to her home to deal with the fire marshall and damages. I imagined what the house would look like on the way over. It was 10 times worse than I imagined.

Her home is unlivable now. The fire department broke almost every window and ripped out both the front door and the back french doors. Her things were tossed outside and some was burned but most are destroyed from the water used to put the fire out. I'm not a firefighter, but I wonder if it was really necessary to rip the doors off like that. Broken windows I can understand, but to rip the doors off the hinges?

Seems it was an electrical fire. The fire investigator quizzed me on the location of certain things, and it looks like, from my Mom's description and the questions of the investigator, it started in the foyer. That's where most of the damage is.

We're now working on getting everything out of the house. Sorting through the destroyed items and picking out what is still good. It's surreal to see a pair of shoes fused together. Amazing how water can melt magazines into a mushy puddle. A relief to see vintage Pyrex bowls withstand the heat, the soot and char washing right off.

My Mom does not want to return to the house to live in. We set her up in the apartment we have above the garage and we are helping her in every way that we can-- making calls to the insurance company, working with the reconstruction people, the doctors and her work. I'm washing all the clothing that we salvaged and her pile of wearable clothing is slowly growing.

She grieves over the books she cannot save and worries about her missing cat. She says her life is falling apart and I tell her that things will work out, that this is a glitch and it can be fixed. We hope the home will sell quickly after we get it fixed up and she does not lose too much money on it. She worries about her future. I tell her that the most important thing is that she is alive, that she is not burned, that she is here with us, safe. Money is money and stuff is stuff, all replaceable. Her life is more precious to me and I am thankful I didn't lose my Mommy.

Hug your families. Be thankful that you have a roof over your heads and food in your bellies. Check the wiring in your home and make sure things are plugged in properly, or if it's not in use, unplug it. Make sure your house insurance is up to date. Tell your children about the dangers of playing with fire. Count your blessings, I know I am.


Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Oh Jenny, so sorry for your Mom, and your family. She has many things to be thankful for, but I'm sure she doesn't feel that way right now.

I'm glad she is OK.

Karen Mayes said...

Oh goodness. I am glad to hear that your mother is all right.

barefoot gardener said...

Oh, Jenny! I am so glad your Mom is okay, and so sorry she is feeling so hopeless. I hope that being close to you and the kids will help her get through this tough time.

Wendy said...

I'm glad your mother is okay.

Angel said...

Im so glad that your mother is alive. what's more important is LOVE , SUPPORT come first. Thank god.. I"ll say a prayer for your mother. in her time of midst crisis.

Barbara said...

I'm so sorry to read about what your mum has just been through. You are right though, what matters is that she is alive and has family to help and support her through this difficult time. I guess she'll still be feeling quite traumatised for a while but that will change with time I'm sure. All good wishes. Bx

jenny said...

Thanks for all your kind thoughts and comments. Mom is alright, but she is still in shock over everything. She was going to live with us when she retired, and looks like it will happen a little sooner now. I'm just glad we have the apartment and she isn't entirely homeless.

Sparx said...

Jenny - OMG, I'm so sorry. It sounds as though it will work out but what a terrible thing to happen. At least your Mum is ok, she's more important than books or the house - and the cat may yet show up, crossing fingers.