The pictures below is from a day or so after the fire. It was an absolute miracle that the fire did not jump the fence or damage any of our neighbors' property. (We are surrounded on three sides by neighbors. Our backyard actually borders three other yards.)
Almost as hard as losing just about everything, was sorting through what wasn't completely destroyed. Going through every single room, literally piece of burned thing by piece of nearly unrecognizable thing was torture. Realizing that we didn't just lose our girl & our home, but all the mementos, heirlooms & souvenirs...
Lesson three (I think), humor. Yes, humor is an important part of life. Not just everyday, but (in my humble opinion) especially after a tragedy or traumatic experience.
Humor (& often times in our case sarcastic humor) is probably the second most important thing that helped us get through. My side of the family is sarcastic by nature & we love to laugh. This is not necessarily something that most people understand; heaven knows the Stork & his side had to learn to get used to it. But it is a powerful thing & can be incredibly cathartic.
I'll give you an example. The very first day of what I like to call the "search & rescue" phase, which was spending eight hours a day going through each & every inch of the burnt shell of our house to determine what was salvageable & what wasn't, the first thing we did was work on clearing out that garage.
It was a very hot summer & if we were going to be spending all day, every day sorting through stuff, we'd need shade. So the restoration folks (who shall henceforth be known as "the crew") started stacking everything on one side of the garage to be sorted though one at a time.
When the first box was opened & the Stork pulled out the first item, we instantly burst out laughing. The crew looked at us like perhaps we'd gone mad. They were slightly worried that they might have to call an ambulance or something. Until they saw what we were laughing at.
The very first thing that we found as we began what turned out to be a very long process, was a VHS copy of the movie "Up in Smoke". The irony was lost on no one & the ice was broken. There would be no more tension between this group of kind strangers & us. From that moment on, when they sensed that things were getting too overwhelming for one of us, one of them would make a joke & blissfully snap us back to the present.
I think the humor helped them as much as it helped us. Sorting through something like that is not easy for anyone. Whether you know the people affected or not, you are sorting through their entire lives, both the good, bad, public & private parts. It is a very raw & exhausting process.
We were extremely blessed to have friends, family & neighbors around to support us & help keep the Squab & Chicken occupied during the days when the Stork & I were going through everything. They did not want to sort through things & we wouldn't have let them.
It was a painful time for all of us. But with humor, we were able to help each other get through it. Remodeling & "honey-do" jokes ran rampant that summer.
The laughter was abundant & welcomed. It helped us cope, it helped us deal, it helped us heal. This doesn't mean that it is a cure-all, because it isn't, but it kept us sane. Learning to laugh at the scariest thing that had happened to us up to that point in time, was a welcome lesson.
Quite often life can be overly serious & everyone needs to find their own ways to get through those times, but I firmly believe that laughter, while not necessarily the best medicine, ranks right up there at the top.
Aloha hugs until next time m'luvs,