What is Life Like Nine Months After a House Fire?

Nine months post fire I still lay my head down at night and think through the events of that day. May 21, 2021. Did I leave something on in the kitchen that started the fire? The fire burned so hot they never were able to figure out what started it. I think about Ella and Esther and how frightening it must have been for them. I begin to cry and remind myself that if I cry, my nose is going to get stuffed up and then I won’t be able to breathe through it which makes falling asleep difficult. I whisper to them both asking for forgiveness for not being there to protect and save them and then I desperately try to think of other things. Anything else. Most nights it takes me 2-3 hours to fall asleep.

Scott and Zoe’s Wedding Reception Jan. 2022

Nine months post fire we are still dealing with the insurance company. Typically, the insurance company allows a twelve month period for you to rebuild or find new housing. Unfortunately, because of the economic climate things are taking much longer than “normal”. We have a new insurance adjuster and are happy with his attentiveness to our case. We have requested an extension for our housing and hoping we will be able to extend our lease where we are currently renting. We are also waiting on the IRS to send us our tax documents we requested June 2021; they cashed our $80 check and we haven’t seen the documents or heard from them. Did you know if you call the number for the IRS on their website the automated system will send you in circles like a dog chasing its tail? We need our tax documents in order to secure the construction loan, and the bank has been waiting so long for our documents they may have to restart the loan process if the documents needed don’t arrive soon. Just one more hurdle to jump in this process.

Nine months post fire I still struggle to get out of bed some days. There’s so much to do and I have very little energy and motivation to do the things I need to do. There are lists that need to be created of house inventory items that need to be purchased for our new house. There are so many items in homes we don’t think about. I went to make Valentine cookies the other day and realized I no longer have my heart cookie cutter. I have also been working on collecting all my favorite recipes. Thankfully many I shared with others and have been able to get copies of ones I wanted. Project after project that needs to be done… I keep reminding myself it will all get done in due time. I remind myself to be patient with myself. Some days are easier than others to do this.

Nine months post fire we were finally able to submit our plans to the Town of Payson for permitting this morning. Building a house in itself is a stressful event– so many decisions that need to be made. Paint colors, type of shingles, flooring, cabinets… on and on. I am grateful for a young lady that has been helping me with many of the kitchen layout decisions. Bouncing ideas off her has been a huge blessing to me.

Nine months post fire I am continuing to learn to focus on the things that matter most in life to me. Facetime calls from our granddaughter, Abigail, where she says, ‘Yaya, I come to you house to paint. I want to paint with you.’ or ‘Yaya, you go airport, get on plane, go HIGH up in air and come to my house’ or my recent favorite, ‘goodbye Yaya! I love you for always!’ when we are hanging up. I miss her dearly being several States away now. I miss having the kids all show up for a few days to hang out and play games for hours on end, as well as yelling at my sons in law to ‘get out of my kitchen’ because they love to cook, too. I am grateful that once our house is built we will be able to have these times together again. I am grateful for time spent with Tim putting together a ridiculous 3000 piece puzzle because it is something we always did together before the fire. We had a special table in the family room where a puzzle was set up. Essie would knock pieces on the floor and Ella would chew them up. It always made finishing the puzzle an adventure. The kitchen table at our rental is currently our puzzle table which makes meal time interesting, but it has made things feel a little more normal here in a place that is not our own. I am grateful for our Millie and how she seems to know when I need her to curl up next to me and just be still. I am grateful we will be picking up a new kitten the first weekend in April. Now, we need to come up with a name for our new little fluff ball girl. I’ve never struggled with naming our pets and believe you me we have had our share of them!! For some reason this time it’s been difficult for me to choose a name. I am not quite sure why that is. I am so very grateful for the art class I am taking this semester. It has really helped me through the rough days. I am learning a lot and mainly, Tim teases, that it assures I shower and get dressed at least twice a week when I have class. (It’s a good thing he is around because he makes sure I eat too! I can get lost in my projects if I am not paying attention).

Our little girl- due to come home in April
A sculpture I made for my sister in law of her dog–except I haven’t master the art of making molds yet…so it didn’t survive
Millie at Frisbee Club- She is doing phenomenal!

Finally, nine months post fire I am counting our blessings. We have friends and family that are struggling with health issues or the loss of a loved one and we are alive and well. There are those struggling financially and we are able to pay our bills and have a roof over our heads. One thing that I have learned the past few months is that everyone at some point is going through the valley’s of life. It’s inevitable. None of us escape it. It’s not a competition about who’s struggle is more arduous. I see it as an opportunity to stop and ask myself how I would want someone to respond to me if I were in their shoes as well as to ask myself if there is anything I can or need to do to help. Sometimes the answer is ‘Samantha, you have enough on your plate right now. Perhaps finding someone else that can help them would be best.’ I hope this week when I encounter someone that is snarky that I would take a moment to take a step back and remind myself that it’s probably not about me but about the circumstances they’re going through.