Eddie was turning 16, I was up way too late thinking about it. I may have gotten two hours of sleep before it was time to get him off to school. That was my fault. I can’t remember what I did that morning, but I knew Jamey was sick and I couldn’t leave him alone long enough to go to Pittsburgh to get his prescription. I did ask Dad to take me out to get Ed’s birthday cake.
Dad went to his Monday night shoot. Jim and I headed into Pittsburgh. I ordered Pizza for dinner. It was late when we got back. I talked to the boys about having his birthday dinner on Tuesday. I had picked up the ingredients while out.
Dad and I sat on the porch when we heard what sounded like a gunshot from inside the house. I ran and checked on Jamey and when he said it sounded like it came from upstairs. People talk about a blanket of smoke? I understand what they mean now. That is what I saw when I went into the attic. I yelled for Jim.
He attempted to get to Pharoah. He went in several times. It took a few seconds to remember how to call 911. And then a little longer to get everyone out.
The rest is a blur. My phone was going nuts, I just started answering it that yes the house was on fire. And I posted on Facebook that yes it’s our house. I couldn’t keep track of the boys, Jim and Dad. The boys were worried about Pharaoh, I knew he was gone. I saw the smoke.
We spent that night at my sister’s. The Redcross didn’t want to come out. I had to call again in the morning. I didn’t sleep that night.
The next morning, we went back to the house. Anyone who has ever had a house fire knows, the phone calls don’t stop. I had to round up what I could for the Red Cross, Jamey went into his first asthma attack in over a year, and his inhaler had been in the attic, I had to call to get one prescribed, then I had to go pick it up. I had to meet with the Red Cross. Meanwhile, people were starting to go through things. Jim found Pharaoh, his body was unharmed. He buried him in the backyard. I got sent on an errand with Dad.
The next day, everything from the attic was being thrown out the windows. A lot of it ended up on the porch roof. They had given away the windows. There was no time to look through anything. Way too many hands in the cookie jar and it was completely overwhelming. I’m being accused of not helping, but I was trying to take care of my family.
If they had waited, there would have been much less to replace. Throwing stuff willy nilly out the windows was a waste. It caused more work in the long run.
By day 3, words and threats were going over Facebook and no I wasn’t innocent. I just had to make good to my threats. The GoFundMe account, in which people were donating for the families immediate needs, was going to be going for dump fees and demolition. Dad was staying with my aunt, my uncle decided against it and right after my sister screamed at me that they would take care of Dad, I was asked if he could stay with us. I had already told him that we would make room for him.
Of course, smartass that I am, I posted that on Facebook…. He’s now staying with one of my sister’s. I was making room for Dad though…. It took guilt for them to take him. I actually wanted him safe.
That was Friday. More nastiness on Facebook that night (still not innocent) We stayed away Saturday. Sunday was Easter. They had spray painted their names on the walls on Saturday. And yes, I’m insulted. Fire damaged or not that was the house my mother loved. It was so disrespectful to her memory. Adults behaving like drunken teens at a rave.
A week later the desecration included swastikas. No matter the past meaning of the swastika, it has become such an international symbol of hatred…. On my mother’s walls. Our mother who hasn’t been gone a year yet. I can’t look past that. Knowing how these people actually feel about anyone different from themselves? They can try to get past my security all they want to explain themselves, if my dad had objected,they would have been in deep trouble. They’re just lucky that a grieving widower with everything to loose felt obligated not to complain.
These are people I have known my entire life, and I quickly realized that not only do I not know them, but I also don’t want to.
Yes, I had some things in that house. But, the majority of it, was my Dad’s. There are unaltered posts here talking about finally being able to go through and get rid of things. Yet, its being all blamed on me, and not once has my father defended me.
We’ve been offered an apartment. I’ve interviewed for a job. Our life is moving forward. I’ll come up with the money for the apartment one way or another. And I’m not looking back. It’s time for change.
It’s time to take the signs for what they are. Dad had a choice to make and he chose them. Personally, I wouldn’t have forced him to choose, but it is what it is. There’s alot that I wouldn’t have done. It’s not the first time, but I need to find the self respect to make it the last. And I need to find a way to let go of the bitterness of what I gave up taking care of Mom. I don’t want to live with woulda, coulda, shoulda.
May 9. This post has been completed for quite a while. I will go ahead and post it today. We are blessed in so many ways today. A longer post with those is in the works. I haven’t had any contact with my dad since the 27th. His choice. I tried calling, he just never called back.