Weary But Not Defeated

For the first time in 5 months I made it until 3:00pm before I realized it was the anniversary of the fire. We were in Hawaii so it was 6pm in Arizona…does that mean I made it even longer? No matter what time is was technically I am grateful to have had the distraction of our daughters wedding to keep me from being as weepy. We had one moment yesterday where we saw a photo of Esther that popped up in a photo memory and it was pretty melancholy mood for us both for the next hour or so.

I thought I would do a quick update as to what is going on in our lives 5 months post house fire.

We turned our personal property list into the insurance company a few weeks ago. It took nearly four months to compile a 3500 line spreadsheet of items we could remember were in the house. There are a few more things we have thought of since we turned in the list but for the most part we have decided the other things that have been forgotten are not worth the stress they create by trying to remember them.

Right after the fire we were combing the ashes for Esther’s remains and I ended up falling through the damaged floor. The jarring to my body set off inflammation already in my back called spinal stenosis; a condition my father also had it. I will be undergoing a laminectomy of two vertebrae on Tuesday, Oct. 26th. The length of my recovery will depend on me. They’re saying anywhere between 6-12 weeks.

American Family Insurance has been very good to us so far. They sent our payoff to us for the mortgage company, which we endorsed and Mr. Copper/Nationwide received it August 11th and we didn’t hear anything….a week went by…finally, Tim called. After two hours of being transferred to different agents Tim was told “the check did not have two signatures so we shred it.” (This is where Tim turns red and blows a gasket. Those of you that know him well know that Tim RARELY, if ever, blows a gasket.) Tim calls the insurance company, they hustle to get a second check cut and at the same time Tim finds out that the mortgage company did not shred the check because there were indeed two signatures and were going to deposit it and the insurance company says, “well now we need to stop payment on that check too.” Are you dizzy yet? Here we are the end of October, the mortgage company has a third check and we are hoping for our equity money to arrive any day now. In the meantime, we finally worked out a way to financially buy a new piece of property to build on around the corner from where we were before and are having house plans drafted as of this week. The builder who built our Marissa house for us is buying the property back from us and going to rebuild a different style house. I’m so grateful that I will not have to drive by it on a daily basis and be reminded of our loss. Lord willing we will be in by next Christmas.

As we navigate this arduous season of life we are doing our best to not add anything that isn’t necessary. We are trying to rest and be prepared for the task that lies before us (building a new house and replenishing our household goods. In the meantime I am taking an Acrylics Art Class at the college. It’s very therapeutic for me and I am loving it. Unfortunately I am going to need to take a little break from class for surgery.

Vibrant Fall

I found this double walled glass in the rubble of our home. It didn’t have a crack on it. It was filthy, of course, but still okay. I feel like I look like that glass. I’m filthy on the outside, not unscathed by the results of the fire, but I am still usable, not destroyed. I only FEEL destroyed. The same goes for our Dragon Tree. For several reasons it had to be dug out of the ground. I was crushed. I took a piece with roots and transplanted it and it was doing very well, for awhile. So…I pruned it back a little for the winter. I think it was too much and I killed it. Unfortunately we won’t know for sure until the spring time. I feel a bit like that too. That I really don’t know how this is all going to turn out until later. I’m not a big fan of not knowing what is going to happen on down the road.

Needless to say, we are weary but not defeated. We are leaning on each other for strength through the valley. We are blessed to be spending the week with our daughters and their husbands. I am terrified of the surgery but know in the long run it will mean life changing mobility for me. I’m too young to walk like an 80 year old when it’s cold and damp outside. I want to walk our dog without having to walk carefully as not to set off my sciatic. (Some of my issues are my own fault for not taking better care of myself and the other is genetics. Either way- I’m still mad I have to ride this train to the station.)

No matter what our circumstances are in life it is up to me and me alone how I RESPOND to the hand I am dealt. I refuse to let circumstances to take anything from me. I refuse to let circumstances dictate my mood or attitude. I CHOOSE to be joyful and calm in the moment (I’m still waiting for my heart and brain to come together on this one). I CHOOSE to have a good attitude (again…waiting for the heart and brain…come on guys). My admitting this is not for people to feel bad but rather gain a perspective in life from someone that’s been there. Many times we jump to conclusions about someone’s situation not fully comprehending their circumstances. It’s times like these I try to take a step back and admit I may not have all the information needed to make an informed judgment. Better yet- let’s not make a judgment at all.

I hope this day you too will choose what is best for you.