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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Day After

Still, so much of that night feels fresh, and yet everything is different. Just like things are when you have a moment like this. Three years is a long time. 

Anniversaries are funny. Not in the haha way but in an odd way. The way a time of year can come around and bring back a flood of smells, images, and feelings. Tears in the back of my eyes sit still, and I remind myself I'm okay.

Today is the third anniversary of "the day after." Our house was ablaze just before midnight, but we still felt like November 5th was the next day for us. We slept at our neighbor's house in their grown son's bedroom. When we walked out of our neighbors front door and into the blue sky sunlight seeing our house blackened, boarded, and broken--a part of us stayed in that moment. Now it comes back in memories.

Today I went on a search for some poems I wrote shortly after the fire. I remember feeling like a member of our family was gone. Two actually. I worried our pine tree would have to come down. But the tree bounced back to life, still wearing its charred parts, and the house was reincarnated. It's so strange to have almost the same house. To this day, we occasionally reach for light switches in the wrong spot. It makes us smile at our silliness, but it causes a pause in thought. And yet, it was only a thing. People always say things can be replaced. This is true. They aren't quite the same though.

The poem I wrote to our house when we were living in a hotel.

I sometimes wonder if you miss us.
I feel bad that you are left there
all alone
I wonder if you know what happened.
I wonder if you're sad.
I don't want you to worry.
We are okay.
We miss filling you with laughter,
good smells, and barking.
But just you wait
Pretty soon...

The poem I wrote to the house about the pine tree and the days leading up to the remains being torn down.

Did you see the tree?
That tree was like your partner
You'd been friends since birth
It's a long time to live together
She might just make it
I'm sorry you didn't
They are coming to take you away pretty soon
I don't think I'll watch
I'd rather not see you like this
I like picturing the first time I saw you
Knowing you were the one


  1. Oh beautiful and so powerful. They are only things but things - objects - are part of our moments, traditions, settings, and memories. What a lovely tribute to a day that conjures many feelings. Thinking of you and remembering to treasure and appreciate the quiet, secure moments in life.

  2. These are gorgeous poems, Betsy. I'm glad you put them out in the world to share on that anniversary last week.

    Every year, I remember the day after the fire too. I remember walking around a Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Event at our local PBS station while talking on the phone with you. I remember how fortunate you felt to have gotten out alive with the kids and Shawn, but how you weren't sure what was happening next. You made it. You've gotten to the other side.
    Keep laughing about flicking the wrong switches. That means you're healing -- all of you.


Thanks for the comment love!