In the past week and a half I have had two family members greatly affected by fire.
My older sister's home burned down. No one was in the home, but she lost everything. My father's Bible, her pictures of her family (including the baby picturres), and anything that we use on any given day. Anything that could have been salvaged had smoke damage and somewhat singed.
On the other side of my family, four days later, my father-in-law's roof caught fire. It will take three months to fix the damage. Fortunately, their insurance is putting them up in an apartment during that time but again they lost many things to smoke damage.
It throws things into perspective. Sometimes I can't stand the junk we collect and I dearly love the word "Purge". but it's one thing when it's your choice to get rid of things and another when things are just stripped away.
Hey, I know that they are just things. That when we die we can't take them with us. But these things still have this ability to carry with them an emotional attachment. As my sister described it, "I had people helping me go through everything. I stood watching as people picked up scorched toys and tossed them because they were melted or throwing books away because they were deemed no longer good. But all I saw them doing was throwing my memories away and treating them as though it was all garbage."
In both cases, all my family members were safe, and at the end of the day that is all that matters. Truly, it is.
I wish I didn't live so far away from them because I would be giving everyone great big hugs. And I'm grateful that the memory of a hug can never be thrown away into a garbage bag with the words,"that's no longer worth keeping."