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No One Died Today. It’s Still a Good Day.
Last year, my daughter and her fiance barely, barely, barely escaped with their lives in a home fire. They went to bed one evening and in the wee hours of a sub-zero January morning in northern Minnesota, a spark behind a stove in a wall of an old home lit a fire. Without firebreaks, the house went up like a pile of straw, and their home burned to the ground within 4 hours, causing cosmetic damage to nearby homes as well.
My daughter and her finance were renting an upstairs apartment and this was their first love nest. It was a perfect first haven, except… it did not have a working smoke detector. Miraculously, she woke to her kitty meowing. To this day, she will also attributes her father waking her up, and he passed away almost 10 years ago.
When she woke up, she awoke with a start – to a wall of orange flames and disorienting smoke. “I couldn’t see anything at all except for a wall of fire.” She woke up her sweetheart and together, they dropped to the floor and on their hands and knees, searched for the doorway leading them to the stairway..
The last sound my daughter heard before heading downstairs was her kitty meowing. Once outside, her finance tried to re-enter the home to rescue their kitty but was immediately turned back by the thick wall of smoke. The staircase they had just descended collapsed within 10 minutes.
Outside, standing buck-naked and barefoot in the snow in subzero weather, they were given a blanket by the police and ushered into the back seat of the police car. She called me in a barely controlled voice, asking for her brother’s address (his address was on her phone, which was destroyed in the fire). She was able to give me limited details of what was happening as her mind was focusing on just processing minimal details and getting to safety.
They were delivered by the police to her brother’s house, shortly after, with only a blanket wrapped around them where he had fresh clothes, hot coffee, a warm shower, and a safe bed. His roommates gladly welcomed them as well.
Now, the restoration has begun. These two have lasted a test that many married couples do not survive and it has made them stronger. In addition, total strangers have contributed funds and clothing, and furniture in a statement of support and kindness.
Immediately following the tragedy, a friend of mine sent me a sizable gift card with the note – “Tell them they are loved by strangers.” My daughter had no purse and no money and no identification to even buy a bra, underwear, tampons, deodorant ….those important things a young woman needs but certainly doesn’t want to ask her brother to buy. Meanwhile, I was quarantined and only able to help from afar.
Her other brothers started a Go Fund Me page to support these two in the building back of their lives. Friends and strangers have since contributed in generous ways.
Many people would say what a sad and unfortunate event and indeed, it is. And while much was lost, there is so much to be gained. In perspective, no one died so it is still a good day. The rest is all small stuff and for the most part, replaceable. She did lose the journals and letters that her father had written to her before he died. She lost his childhood records as well but everything else is replaceable.
I do know that out of that fire there grows much hope. Hope for their future. Hope for their relationship. Hope in their community and in strangers and this is the greatest blessing of all – a reminder of how really blessed we are to love and have those who love us. When her father died, I thought that was the worst day of my life. Hopefully, it is and I have no greater tragedy in this life.
I am not minimizing pain and loss and grief. I am only putting it into perspective. Loss is hard and trauma is real. And It is indeed still a good day when we can feel hope and believe in our future. So no one died today. It is still a good day. We are counting our blessings instead of the losses.
Call to Action: If you’ve been inspired by this story of resilience and the power of community support, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the blessings in your own life. Reach out to someone in need, offer a helping hand, or contribute to a cause that resonates with you.
Let us remember that together, we can make a difference and be a source of hope for those facing adversity. Share your stories of hope and support with others at our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mattiemurreyresiliencecoach/ and let us continue to spread compassion and kindness in a world that needs it more than ever.