It's just stuff.
Or at least that's what I keep repeating to myself.
But waking up in someone else's bed, realizing you don't have clean clothes because you dumped everything you wore last week into a suitcase, going to brush your hair but not having a brush.. it's the sense of comfort and home that's gone. Normalcy won't be around for a while.
You think that in disasters you will know what is important to take with you. Photo albums, memories, things that can never be replaced. But your mind tells you that everything is fine, you'll be back. You are not one of those families that you see on the news. So you grab the basics. Stuff to get you through a night or two. Things to get you ready for work the next day. Clothes, toothbrush, chargers.. of course forgetting a thing or two just like when you pack to travel. Except you won't be coming back to find it on the nightstand where you left it.
People keep asking what I need. When really, all I want right now is my favorite chapstick. What do I need? My roof, maybe? My bed, I suppose...? And here I am with chapstick on my mind. In all honesty, I don't know if this is shock, or maybe my mind isn't comprehending the entirety of what is really gone.. But the things I'm thinking about are the things that can't be replaced. Coming home Monday night and everything being decorated for the holidays. A Merry Christmas sign next to the door, twinkly lights wrapped all the way up the staircase, the tree was lit, everything wintery and glowing. All of my artwork. From my very first painting to my last and everything I used to create them. Family photos that were tucked away in the garage, too high up to reach in the dark.
Yes, I could use a few things. But, stupidly, I'm more upset that I had bought those things just a few days before. And yet, I look forward to a trip to Target that makes it feel like a normal day for a minute.
If I didn't fully realize it before, I do now. I am so grateful for the people in our lives. I can't keep up with the messages and phone calls. And I'm sorry that I don't know what to say or how to respond. Ive never been one to be emotional. But like my mom said, if I'm crying, it's not only for what was lost but because I'm grateful for everyone in my life. Your love and support is overwhelming and it's impossible to keep it all inside.
We were finally able to see what was left of our home today. It took a few days, frustrated tears, some begging and pleading, and then a hike up the hills.. but we had to see it for ourselves. Pictures and videos don't give you that closure. It's the ashes and soot you get on your hands and clothes as your navigate through what was once your living room. Seeing the staircase railing bent and twisted in the rubble instead of wrapped in the Christmas lights you last saw them in. Stepping over almost unrecognizable objects that turned out to be the mixing bowls you used to make cookies during the holidays.
I'm sure it'll get harder before it gets easier. But the beginning of our healing has begun with all of you. ❤️