Thursday, January 1, 2015

Let's Start At The Beginning

This was the first day of the rest of my life. The flames were lapping all around the living room. My siblings and I were up on the second floor in bed. I shared a bedroom with my baby sister. My brother, only a year younger than me panicked and was found hidden up in the attic when it was finally over. My sister 2 years older than me had just spent the past week going through fire safety at school. She learned everything she needed to know that week on fire safety. Had she not been there we would have all died.

She woke me up through the wall vent in between our bedrooms. She told me there was a fire and I was to go to the bathroom and get a wet washcloth, bring into the bedroom, close the door, get the baby out of the crib and huddle under the crib with the baby, with the wet washcloth over her face and wait for help. My sister broke her window and had to jump out of the window down to the ground. To this day she carries the scars on her hands and her heart. The next door neighbor didn't wake to the pounding on his door so my sister ran down the road in her pajamas trying to find the closest fire alarm. Back in the day, they were on poles on street corners. A trucker saw her running down the road in the middle of the night and found the nearest store with a phone and called the police. When my sister pulled that fire alarm, the police and fireman came and followed her to the house. They found me huddled with my baby sister covering her to protect this precious life.

I remember being taken out of the house that night and into the ambulance with my baby sister. Our lives changed forever that night. We were four little kids who just became homeless and motherless. The  ripple effect continues to this day. This is my very first memory, the fire. It has shaped who I am ever since.

When I got married over 37 years ago I begged my husband to make sure that if our house burnt down that he would pick me up and carry me out the door. I used to have dreams that I freeze in the next fire. I am too petrified to move, hence the pleading with my husband to make sure I get out. You would think I would be terrified of all fires but I am not. I love fireplaces, as long as the are behind glass! Fire is a beautiful thing to behold but as we learned that night, fire can sweep a home and take it's most prized possession, it's family.

That night I became a Mama. I didn't realize it till I went into therapy this year but that fire defined my very character. I never did have much of a childhood. We spent a lot of our growing up years in an orphanage. I became my baby sister's Mama. Huddling under that bed that night with her in a ball in my arms, shielding her from the fire, I took on the role of Mama.

It would take years of work for me to untangle that emotional bond as Mama to my siblings, my baby sister especially. I had to allow her to make her own decisions and make a new bond with her. One of deep love and respect for the person she is, as her sister and friend.  She doesn't need me to be her Mama. She had a Mama and unfortunately she died. I tried to take over and while she was a child that worked great. When she became an adult I had to face that I really wasn't her Mama but a big sister that would lay down her life for her.

I was trying to explain all this to the therapist. I have never been able to express just how deep my feelings go for my three siblings. I have always prayed that God would take me first when it's time to die. I didn't think I could handle losing them. When I shared that the four of us are very close the therapist shared with me that we have what is called a trauma bond. We had gone through that fire together and came out together alive. We still carry the smoke from that fire but now it is just a reminder of God's amazing protection.

That night is the night I learned how to nurture and protect. That is a great trait, one that has always been my faithful guide. Now I understand just how deep that goes. I am a nurturer to the very core of my being. That is who I am. That's enough for me.

Thank you LORD for teaching me how to nurture and protect. Help me be an encouragement to those around me.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

1 comment:

  1. Wow. That's a big load to carry at any age. Thank you for opening your heart. I am so glad for the way God has allowed you to heal.