Saying Goodbye

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Dear God,

I’d say that 2015 had proved to be an incredible character building year so far for the Scott family, my family.I’m not sure if I should thank you, or not.  Only ten days after ushering in the new year, we were blessed with an out with the old and in with the new, attitude. It was not an attitude that we chose or necessarily would have wanted but it’s all in your hands. My family’s home burning to the ground has given us many things. Things that we never wanted, never asked for, and never expected. That said…. you are the boss.

I’d like to say that the 2015 is shaping up or getting better, but it isn’t. Instead it seems to be getting worse. So I wonder if there was a lesson that we may have missed. I know that all things happen for a reason, your reason, and I am patiently waiting on my next move.

I can honestly say that in my thirty-six years of life, that this is by far the worst year yet. I don’t even want to consider what could make it worse, because I fear that it could happen still. I honestly hope that twenty years from now, I will look back on this year and think that it was all downhill from here.

I still have to wonder though, what is the lesson that needs to be learned. Is it a lesson for me or for one of my family members? Is it a lesson that all of us need to learn? Are we an example and therefor a lesson for all to learn?

I’ve thought about those questions since January 10. 2015. I have wracked my brain trying to figure out what we need to get out of this. I am aware that you don’t have to share with us your great wisdom, but I have thought non stop about the lesson. Oh there is one, and we clearly haven’t gotten it yet. Whatever you have been trying to teach my family since we have lived on McNeilly road, has simply never set in.

We have had a history of disaster and heartache that has stirred our lives for the better part of the thirty plus years that my family has lived at 139. One Three Nine no longer exists and it will no longer, but I wonder if this was just the last straw.

Growing up there, we experienced so many opportunities to run. We experienced so many signs that would have pointed us elsewhere and yet we stayed. We stayed strong and together. We never changed our course. We never changed our actions.

We had our home flooded more times that I care to count, part of the reason I am sure that 139 will no longer exist.

I have watched my sister’s car swallowed by a water main break that literally ate her car. The front of our yard ended up in the back along with her car.

I remember a storm so bad that the water rushed into my Dad’s garage and was washing the bottom of it away. With a neighbors help, I drove my Dad’s car out of the garage that was about to collapse on itself. This was back in the days of the “Club”, which was on the car and I still managed to save it.

I remember putting plastic bags on our feet and dumping buckets out of our basement that had flooded with sewage. Buckets filled with poop from who knows where in our finished basement. We spent the night dumping buckets as fast as they would fill just to minimize the damage.

We had a pipe burst in our bathroom upstairs that flooded our house all day while we were away, on the the last day of school conveniently. Our entire summer was spent living in an extended living home while our house was fixed….

Then the person that was fixing our home robbed us of everything that we owned.

What was the lesson? What were you trying to teach us?

Out of all of that crap, I didn’t even add all the times that I’ve almost said goodbye to my Dad, or the time that police knocked on my door because something was wrong with my brother. I didn’t mention the physical heartache from the ones that I love that were in pain or dying right in front of me. I’ve been through a lot… and so I wonder, what have I missed?

I want to get it right now. I want to know the answer before the sun rises so that I don’t have to spend another day like this.

I want to get your message and as I write this, I wonder if that is part of the problem. I get it. I have the message, but someone else does not.

I know that in my near future, I will be saying goodbye to many things. I will say goodbye to the entire place that I grew up. I will say goodbye to McNeilly Road forever. I will say goodbye to the traditions and memories that once lived there. I will also say goodbye to the pain. I will say goodbye to some of the relationships that have been torn in recent days. I will say goodbye to it all.

Tomorrow, I pray that I wake with the strength to move forward. I know what demons have followed our family for my entire life and tomorrow I pray that I have the strength to stand up against them. I pray that your lesson, your message, finally be heard and that my family may hear it. Be with us tomorrow, as I know you are always.






Sweat Equity

Dear Dad,

Today I saw things through your eyes for the first time. Over the past month I have looked at our house and seen it through my eyes. I have seen it through my brother’s eyes and my sister’s eyes. I even had a glimpse of it through Mom’s eyes. I put myself in every one of their shoes and felt what they were feeling. The losses that they suffered. I wanted to be sympathetic to their feelings of loss as well as my own. I never put on your shoes… until today.

I realized immediately, what I had lost in this fire. We moved in when I was six, this is pretty much the only house that I know. I may as well have been born here. The loss for me is of memories of my childhood. The devastation that I will not be able to sit on the same stoop some day when you are gone, because now it is gone, scraped away today by an excavator like it was peeling back the tab on a soda can. In an instant it was gone.

It took me a few days to realize what my siblings had lost. My brothers lost a home also but they lived there far more recently than I. They still had actual things in that house. Tom was actually born here so it is the only place that he knew. Chrissy still lived right there, and was in and out of that house far more than I. They were all so attached.

I looked at it through Mom’s eyes and saw fear. I know because I am a mom. She feels the loss of all of the things inside of course, but for her it runs deeper. It is a fear that it could have been worse. She will question her every movement in that house and wonder if she could have saved one more. She lost her sense of safety. She is a Mom and we protect at all costs.

Dad, today I realized what you lost.

My heart raced and my stomach tumbled at the very first brick that was brushed aside by that huge machine today. When they pounded to the ground the sound was like they had fallen deep into the hollow of all of our hearts. It was as difficult to watch if not harder than the day that the fire took our home. Each sweep of that claw was another blow to my insides and I stood and watched as you turned your back and walked away.

I didn’t understand because I couldn’t imagine not being here. I had to witness the death and the burial of my home. I had to see that there was nothing left to believe that there is nothing left .No pulse, just a flat line.  I couldn’t imagine walking away and yet you did.

I stood outside for five hours watching as our metal was sorted and wood was crushed and bricks were tossed aside like feathers. I watched as that giant scoop picked up things as small as a pile of photos sitting in a basket that was some how protected by who knows what, and was left untouched. This was the reason that I could not walk away. The chance that I may get one more glimpse of a memory that was made there. One more faint beat of the heart of that house. I had to see it right up until the end.


When I walked inside and Mom asked you if you were alright, your words opened my eyes finally. I’m sorry it has taken me so long to see what you lost. You said that you couldn’t stand to watch thirty years of sweat and work just knocked over like it was nothing.

I get it now.

Last week my garage door broke. Brian looked at it and figured out what parts we would need. He ordered them and we waited for them to come in. We didn’t use the garage for a week but as soon as the part came in, he was down there installing it. It needed a few more adjustments before it was working again but I looked at the pride in Brian’s eyes when he had set out to fix his garage. It was his sweat that went into it that day.

A few months ago we installed a wood burning stove into our living room. It took several weeks to get the entire project completed, but I know that Brian is proud of the work he did. With the help of his uncle and a few other hands he did that. It was his sweat that went into that stove.

We built our enclosed garden last year, we’ve put strips on the roof to melt the snow, we’ve repaired sewage pipes and basement floors, we’ve replaced doors, fixed dishwashers, washing machines and all things mechanical. We’ve moved furniture and we’ve painted rooms. We have sweat that went into this house.

We have lived here for three years and our sweat is in the walls and bricks. You had thirty years of sweat. I see it through your eyes now. You have spent thirty years fixing things, replacing things, building things and sweating. I remember you showing me how to use the drill to screw  some drywall in the basement. To me it is a memory but to you each one of those screws was a piece of your hard work, sweat and pride.

You took care of those bricks. You made sure that everything was working. You were the steward of that home. It was on your shoulders to keep it working. You did a perfect job. Thirty years of taking care of that house. I see it through your eyes now. So many projects and home improvements, so much sweat that you invested. It is called sweat equity for a reason. You invested so much.

I get it now.

I understand why you couldn’t watch that machine flick away our house in an instant. I’m sorry Dad. You’ve been so strong and I’ve forgotten to look at it through your eyes, but I see it now.

Dad, I pray that each day will get easier for you. Today we laid to rest the home that you have loved and pridefully cared for, for thirty years. I pray that your pain will become less each day and that as time passes your heart will begin to heal. I pray that you can find pride in your next home and that even though it will be new, I pray that you can tinker and tweak and fix till your heart ceases to beat. I love you.