"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up." Ecclesiastes
When I was ten years old I learned what it was like to lose everything. It was Saturday morning, January 25, 1986 around 10 AM. My 14 year old brother was doing his paper route and my parents at work. I finished a big bowl of cereal, watched the Gummie Bears cartoon and doodled a picture of one of the characters. I LOVED to draw. Soon after I got into my snowsuit and went out to play in the snow. It's what we did in those days. We played outside ALL day in ALL kinds of weather and cried when it was time to go back in. Before long a few neighbourhood kids invited me to play in their yard and then invited me inside for lunch. We ate lunch in the basement Rec. Room in our snowpants, all too soon the phone rang and I heard a shriek from Cee's mom. Turns out another neighbour saw smoke pouring from my family home and wanted to know where us kids were. I didn't know if my brother was home or not and I worried about our dog. Actually a hundred worries rushed through my mind in those few minutes. We all poured outside not knowing if Cee's home would be safe to stay in considering how close our properties were together. Amidst the chaos of firetrucks and looky-loo's my parents arrived. I only had two worries at that moment: "Where is our dog?" ~ "Why did I only dress in long johns under my snowsuit?"
Yesterday marked the 26 year anniversary of the house fire that left my family homeless and armed with only the clothes on our backs. To miss the treasured items that I had collected since a baby. And for my parents to lose the things that were truly irreplaceable, ie. baby photos and old family photos. The shining light to come from that terrible few months comes from the incredible outpouring of community support and love. We were given a roof over our heads, and the school auditorium was closed to house the mass amounts of clothing and personal items that were donated for my family. I still remember walking through and picking out the clothes and am grateful for the dignity they gave us. It was a really hard life lesson to learn but I wouldn't change it in anyway. I know what it is like to lose all material possessions, but we were never really destitute. Who can be surrounded by family and friends and consider all to be truly lost?