After the FireMonica Bielanko
As you may or may not have heard, two weeks ago instead of reporting the news, I became the news when our house was severely damaged by fire.
The third floor and much of the second floor were destroyed rendering the home unlivable. They haven’t released a cause but the fire marshal thinks it started in the walls of my daughter’s bedroom.
I’m still in shock, I think. I don’t really know. I’ve been on autopilot for two weeks now. Find a place to live. Dig through piles of burned possessions in the hope of finding journals and photos that I could salvage. Pack any belongings that didn’t get damaged. Move to a new house. Organize a new house while trying to figure out what needs to be replaced. All this while attempting to meet the needs of two young children who have no idea what’s going on.
What does Violet think, I keep asking myself. Does she wonder where our old house went? At barely three years old, is she old enough to miss her bedroom? A room that no longer exists, toys that no longer exist, clothes that are gone… Do we talk about it with her?
So far we’ve said nothing. We made a game out of moving into the new house and creating a new bedroom and she seems to be doing well. But, well, I don’t know. Does she remember seeing her room on fire? I haven’t asked. Even if she retains some small memory, I don’t want to harp on it. The most important thing at hand, in my eyes, is creating a new room for her and keeping up her routine as best as we can considering that much of her routine before involved our old home and neighborhood and the amenities nearby. The home we have rented is not as close to the things we used to do – swimming lessons, Kindermusik – yet I am determined to continue those things because that was a part of her routine that she really seemed to enjoy.
I guess I’m just thinking aloud here… fumbling along at parenting through something like this, trying hard not to think about what could have been and focusing on what I can do now.
Anyway, I wanted to thank you all so much for the mind-blowing outpouring of support our family received. Not only you, the readers, but my colleagues here at Babble and the folks behind-the-scenes. You wouldn’t believe the support I’ve received from everyone here at Babble. I especially wanted to thank Katie Granju who – within 24 hours of the fire – organized a fundraiser for our family and, with the help of several Babble writers, spread the word and raised money to help our family find a new place to live and replace some of the belongings we lost in the fire.
I love Katie Granju so much my heart just about explodes every time I think of her. For so many reasons. Sitting in my car blubbering to her on my cell phone about how I just wanted to go home (without having a home to go to) and hearing her calm voice of reason was so comforting. Like, I just wanted to drive to Knoxville and crawl into her bed and sleep for ten years. Thank you, Katie. Thank you a million times. And thank you Babble colleagues for your support, your generosity and for your blog posts here on Babble and your personal blogs. I have read all your words during a very dark time and it really helped me put one foot in front of the other and just keep going even though all I’ve wanted to do for every second of the past two weeks is crawl into bed, someone’s bed, not mine, it was ruined in the fire, and just bawl my eyes out.
This. This is what the internet is all about. People helping people whether it’s through a fundraiser, a supportive blog post, a Facebook comment – the power of the internet and hundreds of generous compassionate people have helped my family through a really dark time.