The loss of a home

I don’t know where to begin when it comes to talking about the loss of my parents house.

One moment I was sitting in the car with Eric while we drove through neighborhoods in Richmond, feeling petulant because I knew we’d never be able to afford the stately homes we drove past. The next, I had word from my sister that my parent’s house was on fire. Not just a small fire, but a bad one, really bad.

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We arrived at the scene, walked past dozen of emergency responders with sympathetic eyes as I made my way to my mom and dad. I already had confirmation that they were unharmed, at least physically, but I can’t describe the sheer relief of confirming it myself.

Parts of their home were unrecognizable. A mess of melted siding and missing walls stood while some of their smoldering possessions were shoveled out into the backyard.

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It’s impossible to describe the feeling of never truly being able to go home again. There is the loss of something greater than material things that has settled heavily on my heart these past few hours.

The initial shock hit home when a responder brought out several things they could salvage. The fireproof lockbox with important documents inside, a few other smoke damaged books, and a leather album with pictures inside.

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And if you don’t take anything from this post but one thing, let it be this: Don’t wait to back up your photos and important documents digitally, and if you don’t have a fireproof safe, go get one now. There is something terrible and humbling about kneeling in the gravel across the street from your childhood home and pulling baby pictures of yourself from books. Lying them out to dry on the ground, or on blankets brought by neighbors. Thankful that there’s anything to save, but mournful that there isn’t more.

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Now we set about helping my parents start over, and I’m grateful for something to focus on. Many people have asked how to help, and for now I have a fund set-up for them here: https://www.youcaring.com/emergency-fundraiser/carper-family-fire-fund/325842