I'm about to tell you about my life over the past 2 months, beginning with March 4th.
If you've read my Delightful Domestications blog, then you already have a clue what is going on! But if not, let the title of my post be some hints for you! You might need a lunch for this one! And you may wonder, "WHY in the world would she put this on her Chocolate Bouquet blog??? I thought this was her LIGHTHEARTED blog???"
Well, when you get to the end of this story, you will see that everything is under control, and God has brought a lot of good our way from these things. :)
March 4th, 2009 started like most other days, nothing out of the norm. Dan was studying to preach that night, and he usually likes some quiet time to pray and focus, so I try to find things to do. I needed to go in town and do laundry, so I gathered it up, and headed for the laundromat.
While folding my clothes, I had set my cell phone on the folding table, and it buzzed. Buzzing lets me know someone called. I saw the number was Dan's cell phone, and figured that he just wanted me to pick up milk on my way home or something. For some reason, my phone didn't ring when he called, so he left a message-it was probably because their isn't signal inside the laundromat.
I went outside to listen to his message, and what I heard was not "Hi Hon, can you pick up milk on the way home?". What I did hear was, "JOSANNE, THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE!!!"
Now, I'm not very "cell phone literate", so I didn't know how to re-listen to my messages. In my panic, instead of listening to Dan's whole message, I closed my phone!!! I didn't know how to listen to the rest of the message!
I ran back into the laundromat and asked the attendant to watch my clothes and that I had to go because my house was on fire.
I got in the car and called Dan. He was terribly shook up and was sobbing. Since I was talking to him, and no one else was home, I knew everyone was safe. And so I asked about the next most important thing. "How's my cat?" And he let me know that he has just let her out before the fire happened. And then, I was ok, and I reminded him that we were all safe, and everything was going to be ok. I tried to calm him down before we hung up. He let me know that the house was basically gone. It wasn't just smoke damage, or a fire at one end that could be fixed-the whole house went up in flames, except for the garage, which they were able to save.
Since my daughter was working down the road from the laundromat, I decided to go get her before I went home, and to finish my laundry. I thought I could ask her manager to let her off work early because we had an emergency. When I walked thru the doors at McDonald's, she came out from behind the counter and had her visor pulled down covering her face, and she was bawling.
Remember my "Blon roots"? Well, let me defend myself before I go on! I didn't know that she had just gotten a phone call from our friend who was going to take my other children to her house so that they didn't have to go home to the devestation. So when I saw my beautiful daughter crying, I did what ANY mother would do!!! I hurried over to her and said the brightest thing in the world! I said, "Are you OK? What's wrong???"
And then my quick thinking made me realize that she already knew.
(Sometimes I'm such an airhead! lol)
We finished the laundry, I called my family members, My friend Angela, and other daughter came down and helped with the rest of the folding(along with the laundromat attendant-thank you Jackie!), and then my girls went with Angela. I stopped by to cancel one of my cleaning jobs, since my customer was in town, and then I headed home.
Neighbors were standing outside their homes, and you could see that some had been crying. Cars lined the road in front of our house.
When I got home, Dan's family was there-his poor mother had came straight from the hospital to our burning-down house. She had been sick-and I confess, she is the dear person in my life who passed out while visiting Glorious Gal, if you read my other posts. She had two hospital stays, but is doing quite a bit better.
The whole house was in flames in about 10 minutes, and it burned up in about an hour. We lost everything very quickly.
Almost all of our church family came out to offer their support, and as the days went on, we were so humbled to see how much our friends care. I mean, we all know our true friends care for us, as we do them, but when they show you their care and support thru a tragedy, it still makes you stand in awe.
I'd like to give a special thank you to Lori, my children's bus driver. Amber didn't ride the bus, and Dan thought she and Elissa were both old enough to come to the house. Dakota, on the other hand, is 10, and he is terrified of fire as it is. Lori LOVES children, and our children love her! Since Dakota was going home with friends that also ride the same bus, Lori took them home a totally different route so that Dakota did not have to see the smoke, the volunteer fire department directing traffic at the end of our road, all the neighbors out watching, etc. She saved my son a whole new level of trauma, and it is VERY appreciated!
The fire department fed us, the Red Cross came out and helped us with some necesseties, and friends and family continued to stop by, until we left for the evening and headed to church.
Since Dan was going to preach that night, and since he was sort of "pre-occupied" with other things that day, we had a worship service and prayer, but no preaching. But you know, the Lord gave us so much to worship Him for---His everyday mercies, His love to us, and on March 4th, 2009, He kept my whole family safe.
April 5th, one month and one day after our house burned down, something was wrong with the furnace in the home we are renting. So guess what? Dan and Dakota both had to go to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning. THANK GOD they made it out of the house--they were the only two home, and . The problem was fixed the next day, and our rental home is back to the cozy feeling place we call home for right now.
Amber and I had been shopping that afternoon, and Elissa was in Indiana. When we learned Dan and Kota were going to the hospital(Dan's parents came over-he called them and told them he needed help-they were much closer to the house than Amber and I were), we met them there. Amber had been complaining of a sore throat, so I registered her in the emergency room too, and she tested positive for strep throat AGAIN.
Fortunately within a few days, everyone was feeling better. Kota still had chest pains for a few days, but I took him for a follow up visit with his doctor, and it was just how his body reacted to the poison. Dan, on the other hand, actually felt quite a bit better within 2 days. And that was a very good thing because.....
Dan was working on April 9th, and was climbing a tree. He would tie in once he got up there, but was only about 12 feet up the tree so far. As he was climbing, one of his spikes kicked out of the tree, and he fell about 2 feet, into the nook in the tree. The jolt caused his arms to go numb, so he couldn't grab the tree, and he fell out of the tree the rest of the way-another 8-10 feet. He landed on his feet, and then fell back on his elbows. His arms and legs were numb, and the feeling in his hands came back rather quickly. As the feeling in his legs came back, the numbness was replaced with terrible pain. So his brother Tim took him to the hospital emergency room.
We spent several hours in the ER, and around 11:30, they sent him by helicopter to Erie Hamot Hospital. Morphine was not touching his pain, and they were sending him to Hamot for him to be seen by a neurologist. It was hard to see him strapped to the gurney, but we went to the airport and watched them take off. My poor baby Dakota asked me if his daddy was going to die. Thankfully I could be totally honest and tell him NO!!! They just took him by helicopter because the bumps in the road would be too painful for the hour drive. Even his skin in his stomach area being touched by a sheet made him feel like electric volts were shooting thru his body.
So what did we find out?
Dan apparently broke his back in the past, which we didn't know. He thinks it may have been last year-he does remember being hurt.
He had to have a fusion in his back, and has to have a second surgery in his neck in a few months. He'll wear a back brace during the day for 3 months, and total recovery should be 6 months for the back surgery he just had.
Dan spent 10 days in the hospital. He is doing rather well, even tho he cannot do too much, or he ends up very sore. But he is walking and going places, and has a regular appetite, and can attend church with us!
All that being said, please don't feel too sorry for us! Why? Because I can see how God has kept everything perfectly under control.
We knew Dan had a problem in his neck, but we did not know that it is basically a miracle that he isn't already paralyzed. We also found out that without having his neck fixed, in time, he will not be able to button his own shirt, and will stagger when he walks, as if he's been drinking.
Our fire and the carbon monoxide poisoning both happened during the day. Had either of these happened at night, we could have lost our lives! Amber's friend had spent the night for two nights just before the poisoning. It could have been TWO families that lost loved ones. But thankfully, it was none.
Even with losing our home and everything we own, we do have a place to live thru our insurance policy. I could not have made ends meet with my income.
But you see, whether you believe in the Hand of God or not, I absolutely do, and know that He has had it all in control. Knowing this and remembering that God has kept us all safe and taken care of, is a much better way to look at everything, than to get bitter and mad because it looks like so many tragic things have taken place. It isn't that I'm just an optimist by nature, because really, I'm not. But I've felt the prayers of friends and family, and when you nearly become a widow THREE TIMES IN TWO MONTHS, it helps you to also keep things in perspective. I can replace a house, my clothes, my knick-knacks, and I can work thru sicknesses. I cannot replace my family.
We're making it, and we're doing well. So please don't look on in pity-just stand in awe with me at the amazing ways of God. He knew all along what was going to happen, and what our needs would be.
I hope in your own situations in life, you can find something positive to dwell on. Seriously, if I can, I think you probably can too!