August 21st….Three months If you would have asked me if so much change could occur in our lives in three months I would have told you there is absolutely no way. We aren’t “that” crazy. But sometimes change comes without your permission. Your home burns down. Your kids move to another state…and take your only grandchild with them!! You are forced to react or respond in a way that will shape your future. Your circumstances, relationships and general path in life are all effected by how you respond to the changes.
The last week I have been consumed with sorting and digging through the rubble at the Marissa house as the demolition began. Our adopted daughter, Jordan, has tirelessly been by my side for hours on end helping me look for Esther’s remains. We found a few treasures. (The photo is of me with my great grandma Julie’s rosary and cross necklace. How on earth it survived is a God thing. We also found a few old photos of my great grandparents wedding day that may be able to be restored. But we didn’t find Esther.
Jordan was down in the crawl space where the kitchen fell and found one piece of my great grandmothers china—the creamer pitcher where the handle is broken off- but its a little piece of history and my past. I remember my little brother, Nathan, and I making my parents dinner one night when I was probably in 6th or 7th grade. We designed menu’s with roses drawn on the front. I had those menu’s in the attic—but now I have the memory in my heart to hold. But Jordan didn’t find Esther.
We were looking through rubble in the master bedroom and managed to find Annabelle’s ashes and the dog bowl, albeit in pieces, that was her memorial. The plastic that contained her ashes and the metal tag from the crematorium had some how survived. But we didn’t find Esther.
Jordan and I found other things, too, but what I wanted to find most was Esther’s remains. I feel like she deserves to be laid to rest somewhere other than the dump. I had to stop and ask myself if I am being reasonable. I am currently being treated for a bulging disc that quite frankly is not happy with all the digging and lifting I am doing. It made me think of when my brother died my parents were so sad and I thought to myself, “what about me? I am still alive. Doesn’t it matter that I am still here on earth for you?” The memory made me think of an adorable little puppy that was at home alone. I told Jordan that I really should probably stop worrying about my deceased pet and focus on the one I do have that needs my attention and love at the moment. Although a very rational decision, my heart was still breaking that we still hadn’t found Esther. We decided to take some feathers from her favorite pillow (my Iris painted on silk pillow) along with some ash from the area where she was that morning when I left. It’s not her but I have to let it go (I kind of feel like I keep saying this and something keeps drawing me back there to look for her.)
The more time I spent at the Marissa house this week the more discouraged I became. I had just taken a photo of our dragon tree before the demo began and you could barely see the charred trunks for all the greenery and new growth. The gentleman who is operating the backhoe pulled some of the roots from the ground for me in hopes that we can transplant it to the new home site. Honestly—I feel like the “after photo” of the dragon tree after this week. Wilted, defeated, drained…. Just sad. I suppose that is the natural order of grief. As I think about grief and how people react to those who are grieving I considered the demo of our house. From the backside of the house all looks the same. But when you go around to the front you see the destruction. Depending on your relationship with the one who is grieving you may get one perspective or the other…if they trust you, you will get to see the front view and all the destruction. If they don’t feel you are a safe person to share with, you will only see the back side of the destruction. The same goes when you look at the dragon tree. Depending on your perspective you see all the green growth and all the good that is coming from the tragedy. The other perspective, when you look closely, is a peek at the charred tree trunk which tells a very different story. When you interact with the people in your life that are going through a tough time, stop and try to see the whole picture. Will you be a safe person for that individual so that you can help them through their grief?
Update on what happens next for us.
We have sold the Marissa lot and do not plan to rebuild there. We are currently looking at a lot to build on and have a builder selected. I just have to sit down and design the house for the architect so he can get the plans drawn up. God has shown us over and over how His hand is guiding and protecting us. I am still human and still get miffed with God daily and have to continue to work through my anger and pain. Logically, I know He loves me and wants what is best for me— He and I don’t always see eye to eye on what that is. I continue to wrestle through how to respond to my circumstances rather than react. What will my perspective or focus be? The things we have lost or what we have gained through our experience?
Your writing is beautiful, even though it is a painful subject. I can’t imagine what you have gone through and are still experiencing, but I can imagine questioning the why. On the bright side, two months from now you will welcome an amazing man into your family and we will welcome a beautiful woman into ours!