The house fire and its consequences have taken over my life. It’s a rare day that I don’t have some task related to it. Friends and family want to know how it’s going with me, the kids, and the house, so I spend a lot of time writing and talking to them. It’s become an obsession. I start to compose e-mails in my head to relate my experiences to them. I think I should keep a journal about it, but I’m afraid it would end up as all my previous journals – in a drawer, collecting dust, a guilty reminder that I haven’t kept up with it. At the moment, I am photographing the progress of the house whenever I go over there to collect the mail. And then I get an idea. What if I start a blog?
Several of my friends have blogs. Kevin writes about science issues mostly and Gary about his life as a straight man with girly dogs. Both are interesting and when they pop up in facebook, I usually take a look. Or maybe it’s a foolish idea. I ask my friends what they think and they encourage me. Who knows, a few said, it might help others going through a crisis as well be a kind of therapy for you. I send the Gary and Kevin a message asking how to get started, and Kevin, a local friend, decides to hold a mini-workshop on blogging. His wife Lexie wants to write one about her art and another friend, Monica, wants to record her observations as a ‘naturalized Texan.’ We meet up one Sunday evening and Kevin takes us through the process of setting everything up. Now all I have to do is write. That’s all.
The first entries are painful to write even though a month has passed. I relive the experience and all the feelings of the house fire, my son’s hospitalization, my dogs’ confusion, and the loss of most of my material possessions. Writing about my son, especially, makes me teary and anxious again. The first two days after the fire stretch into half a dozen posts, but it seems fitting as time took on a different dimension then. His 2 hours in ER felt like 24 to me; his two days in the burn unit at Brooke Army Medical Center felt like a week. And yet, it does help in some way to put it all down on paper, or rather a word doc.
After finishing 5-6 posts, I decide I’m ready to launch my blog. The first one goes out on the six-week anniversary of the fire. Can it really have been six weeks already? Sometimes it seems like just the other day. Other times, it feels like months and months because my life has changed so much. After a week or so, most people don’t think too much about another person’s crisis, which is normal. It’s only ‘news’ for a short time, but for the victims of fires or floods or tornados, it’s a continuing saga that seems to have no end in sight. I suspect that I’ll think of my life as divided into pre-fire and post-fire periods for a long time to come. My life takes on a surreal quality at times, almost as if none of this really happened to me, which can make dealing with it even more difficult. Writing about it makes it real again.