Hi, and thanks to everyone who helped mom. This update is for you, since you have taken such a sweet interest in her well-being and continued happiness. She is well. She is moving forward.
Mom has decided to rebuild. This wasn’t clear at first. At first, she even wanted to move. During those first few days, she even had us clear out all the (unburned) sheds around the house, cleaning it all out for good. She was done, we thought. And we wondered how this woman who loved her “little patch of ground” so much would fare out in the big world, unattached to anything.
Well, we got her into a temporary home: an RV on the property, but not right at “the site” of her house. We all call the bare ground there “the site”. The site of 30 years of memories, the site of the fire, the site of the bulldozing, and now the site of the new construction.
It’s slow going. Mom went from wanting a few widely varied types of homes, and settled on a traditional southwest home called a “hogan”. It’s 8-sided, has a slightly conical-looking roof, and a big window oculus at the top. Should be neat. For now, it’s just the beginnings: dirt, a few cement footings, and some roughed plumbing.
So let’s talk about the dirt. Mom sifts it daily, and has recently come up with her father’s ring. I think it’s the last of the “unfound” keepsakes mom was hoping to locate. I’m glad it isn’t in a landfill somewhere, next to the charred remains of her home’s bones.
An update on mom. First, thanks a zillion to everyone who has contributed to mom’s well-being. This is for the people who delivered food, left 2 pairs of pants folded on her car, donated $5, or donated $500. You are each one of you generous with what you have, and I can’t thank you enough. I was overwhelmed to hear from so many people who don’t even know my mom and who called or PayPal’d or commented on the blog and just wanted to help this person. Thank you.
So here we are, now a good solid month gone. The 28th was the official one-month point, and yesterday (Sunday) was actually 5 weeks since it all happened. It’s like water pouring from a drain, now. The first moments are still perfectly clear (for me, anyway), but all the moments between are just blurs in a huge vortex.
Mom has received as a gift a rug hooking shuttle. This is pretty awesome. She’s also looking for cloth cutters and is clearly making motions of getting back to making her rugs. This is super awesome.
In mixed news, remember when I wrote in step 5 of my blog post right after the fire that mom let us schedule a bulldozer for her? Well… I guess the good news is that mom is fully back to knowing what she wants out of her life and her (new) home. She set out yesterday (I learned via Facebook) to start staking and stringing out a new home site, somewhere on her property. The bad news is she was really upset at what a huge mess and scar the machinery left behind.
I was in Bastrop planting trees in their burned-out scar when I got her text message about her fire’s scar, the messy dirty bowl thinly covering papers and other small bits the bulldozers just couldn’t scrape up. I admit it was hard for me to feel the despair and anger mom felt at that moment; I was seeing new growth around me, in what had a miles-long burned out mess, and what was now sending up pine seedlings, grasses, and native flowers that hadn’t seen the sun for 40 years. I feel bad for not being able to empathize with her, or even to be there with her in person, but I know that feeling how she’s feeling is definitely part of the process, and if it’s a feisty mom I have, it’s a mom coming back to herself.
I wanted to share here how mom was feeling and doing, since it was from this blog that many of you donated to and inquired about her. I also wanted to spread the news of hope that’s in sight, albeit mixed with healthy and passionate wrath. Or as close as my mom comes to wrath. I think she was considering a strongly-worded letter.
Good news from mom-land. I’ve had some pretty proud moments of her lately:
- Her cackling uncontrollably as I explained the plot of Twilight to her.
- Her handling her own Genius appointment at the Apple store yesterday.
- Her arranging to have her water line installed and trailer leveled.
- Her happy just to chill in the car and eat her burger while I puttered around elsewhere.
These are small things that were the usual stuff of her existence, but it’s finally feeling like the mom I knew, the self-titled “Marcia Self-Sufficient”, is coming back.
Two weeks ago, she would only eat when other people ate (if at all), had no reason to laugh, had no definitive thoughts for the future, and therefore arranged nothing herself. She couldn’t decide what she wanted in the next two minutes, much less two weeks, months, or years.
I loaned her a stack of books on building and architecture, most of which she had loaned me over the past couple years. Those are the only books saved from the fire, actually. Those and a couple cookbooks she loaned me. I’m very glad now that I hadn’t returned them yet.
It’s still going to be a long road ahead, of course. But she’s getting there. It has been so helpful for her not only to receive donations from friends (and strangers! That blows my mind!) but to realize that people are out there, willing to help her… That’s been bolstering her so much. Thank you, everyone, who’s donated to her already. If you still wish to donate monetarily, please go to helpmarcia.com, and thank you!
When the time comes, we’ll rally the troops to help her build.
Thank you for contributing to my mother’s future and giving her hope. She and I are considering creating a non-profit to aid other people in her situation—no insurance, homeless, and hopeless. Please continue watching this blog for her creations and also to stay updated as she begins to rebuild her life.
I’m so glad I started taking pictures of all of mom’s neat things a month or so ago, because just a week ago today her house and all its treasures burned to the ground. We’re still completely in shock. (If you’re in a similar situation or know anyone who just lost their home to Sandy or anything else, read my blog post on what they can or might do in the first few days. They are a traumatic few days, to say the least.)
Mom’s neighbors, family, and I have set up a donation account to go directly to her via PayPal (ugh, I know), to pay for her shelter the next few days and ultimately to get her rebuilt if that’s what she decides. Rebuilding was off the table until a cat we thought had died in the fire returned home. She has since regained hope for her future.
If you’d like to donate directly to her, you can use this button here. Thank you very very much.
Edit: we’ve confirmed PayPal is working and no longer requires a login to donate! The response is truly humbling. Thank you, one and all.
My roommate Maud moved away to the Great White North, but not before mom found out her favorite colors (black and gray), her favorite number (two), and a couple things Maud liked. Those would be Apple and Texas.
So, mom combined them all up into a smallish rug: portable and comfy enough for a new-Yankee’s toes to stay warm.
This window has been a part of my life since the day we moved into that house, the one my mom built with her own two hands. I should devote at least one post to the house itself…
But this window. It’s mine in so many ways. She made it for me, sure, a rainbow for her little girl. I looked out or at least at that window every single day until I left for college. It is a tiny foot-high portal on the “short side” of my room, and the only window that faces the front of the house. It gets the gentle morning sun, as in this picture.
It captures the sweetness mom made with it and the hope of sweetness for her little girl.