Come On Up For The Rising: Heading Home After The FireSerge Bielanko
Even if you close your eyes and clench your teeth and hope and wish for something so hard that the veins in your forehead start to percolate and your heart starts busting through your ribs like a Daytona 500 crash against the wall, most of the time it just doesn’t come true.
But not this time.
This time, it did come true. And we’re going home.
Back in January, literally about two hours after I posted my very first story here at Babble, our house caught on fire. My wife, Monica, managed to yank our two-year-old daughter out of her burning room in the nick of time. That’s still not even a thing that I can really get my head around. And to be honest, I try not to think about it all that much. Still, we all got out okay and we were able to sit out in the Honda, the kids facing away from the house, while my wife and I watched this old farmhouse that we came to really really love shoot up in flames.
The sadness that followed is difficult to describe, I guess, and so I haven’t written too much about it. But, if you’ve ever had to go through something like that, then you know. And if you haven’t, well, I hope that it stays that way for you and yours forever. The whole thing took a toll on Monica and I, and although we’re pretty tough people and we did our best to transition to a whole different life overnight for the kids, we also found ourselves taking our new found blues out on each other sometimes. It happens. Life messes with you.
Now, though, we are raising our proverbial chins just a bit. Walking through that house after the fire and just breathing in the acrid smokey smell/looking at all of that hardcore damage, neither one of us thought that we’d ever live in that place again. We had to figure it was gone, that it wasn’t fixable.
We had to let it go.
And then this. The words from our friends, our landlords, that it was going to be repaired and that it was going to be better than ever and that someone could and would live in there once again.
And that they wanted those people to be us. The Bielankos.
I’m not going to lie to you here now, it actually took me a while to allow myself to believe what they were saying. I suppose I was scared, for myself, and for Monica, and the kids too. I guess that I was still reeling from what that damn fire had done to us and I just didn’t want to set myself up for any kind of disappointment, any kind of letdown at all. But as the weeks went by and we would cruise the Honda past the place, watching the workers working, watching Amish fellows out on the roof with hammers and stuff, watching English fellows dragging in slabs of Sheetrock, slowly hesitating, and then finally allowing ourselves to pull up to the big wrap-around front porch with Violet in the car, and recognizing her recognizing the home she’d once lived in, it finally began to sink in to our hearts and our heads and our souls that this was the new reality and that we could walk back onto this very stage if we really wanted to.
Never before has letting myself believe in something again felt so freakin’ good. We are beyond excited to be able to go back. We are beyond happy to go and live our lives there again. And I’m no fool, I know that just changing houses won’t make life super better, that’s all up to me. To us.
But, when you’re crawling back out of a heap of cold ashes, looking down at your unburnt skin in the bright sheen of a brand new day, believe me, you take what you can get and you feel grateful for it, and alive as hell, too.
So, I’ll take it.
Me and my awesome family that I love with all of my heart, with every molecule of breath and blood down inside my darkest caves … we’ll take it all.
We. Will. Take. It. All.
And thanks. Whoever you are.
You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.
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