This post is continued from here.
A few days later, I saw my dad cry for the first time in my life. We all tried to hold it together for each other, but as we pulled up to the house one day, my dad could no longer take it. He burst out in sobs. They had lived in that house for 18 years, paid for that house, I had been raised in that house, and it was full of memories. I know items are replaceable, but there are things that are not. My parents had taped me every Christmas opening gifts. That tape is not replaceable and it’s one of the things that still hurts them the most. My parents wedding album, photos of my Pawpaw that had passed away, things I had made for my mom, and the list goes on. One of the hardest parts was writing down “big ticket items.” For insurance purposes, you have to right down enough items in your home to make up the amount of insurance on your contents. We sat at my Gangan’s dining room table (we stayed at her home after the house burned) and we each had a piece of paper. We were going to lists things in each room, starting with the expensive items. I wrote down a few things and I completely broke down.
The weekend after my house burned, someone pulled up to what was left of our home. My parents also had a shop and a sock-mill right beside our home. This jerk hooked up to my dad’s race-car trailer (my dad drag-raced) and drove off with it. I still do not understand how you steal one of the few things left from someone whose home had just been lost. To this day, that thought makes me sick. There are some terrible people in this world.
Christmas was right around the corner. I don’t think anyone felt the need to ask what we needed. Oh, everything? I remember my parents bringing a truck load of items for me. In any other situation, a teenage girl would have been excited to get a new TV, a new computer, a new desk, VCR, etc. But me? I tried to be. I tried very hard and I think I pulled it off for my parent’s sake. I didn’t want to need those things. I had all of those things already. It was a very difficult Christmas. While we tried to put on a smile, you could cut the tension with a knife. We were more than thankful that no one was in the home, that we weren’t sleeping, but it still hurt. No one wanted to let it out and looking back, I think if would have just had one night a week where we would sit around the table and just grieve together, we would have been a lot better off. Instead, we each pushed everything to the side and tried to deal with it on our own. I learned a valuable lesson- that is what family is for. You should lean on them, lean on each other, and let it out.
I felt like I had to be strong for my parents. I don’t know why I felt that way, but I would repeat “it’s going to be okay” until everyone was sick of it. It would be months before I dealt with my pain. I hid everything I felt from everyone in my life. As I have mentioned before, I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression among other things on February 14, 2003. Although it did not all stem from losing our home, I believe that it was finally broke me. I pushed everyone away and let no one in. I left my boyfriend of two years. In the end, I attempted suicide in June of 2003. Thankfully, 300+ pills did not kill me and in the end, I came out stronger. There are days when I still think about it and my heart just drops, but for the most part, we have moved on. Really, did we have a choice?