Saturday night, my dad, Bob and his wife Jeanne, were watching television when they heard sirens. They moved to the laundry room, the safest place in the house (although the furnace is there as well), when they heard what sounded like a train go by. Debris, dirt and shattered glass started to come under the door to the laundry room. When the storm seemed to have passed, they assessed the damage. “It seemed like it wasn't that bad,” my dad said, “until we went upstairs to find that the side wall and a portion of the roof was gone.” My sister Tara and her son Zach, who live with them, had been at the movies.
The next several hours were filled with texts and calls from family members making sure everyone was accounted for and safe. They tried to assess the damage in the dark and in the rain. And my brother Rob who lives in Texas had to convince my parents to walk away from their house with nothing but the clothes on their back, trusting that tomorrow is another day.
Faith runs deep in my family – and the types of faith we practice run wide. We are varied in our styles and understanding of God. But when the walls blow away and the roof caves in, our differences become window dressing.
Our faith as a family says the following things today:
And I believe most profound to us today is that we see and feel brokenness within our family being healed through this tragedy. And we are humbled by that.
If you are the praying type, please join me in prayer today. I'm praying for the emotions that will emerge particularly for my little sister Catie (who no longer lived there but who seems to be feeling the hurt of losing her childhood home). I'm praying for the healing that I believe is happening within relationships. I'm praying for safety, from nails sticking up from boards on the ground and from the possibility of the roof caving in.
Thank you to all who have donated. We assume much will be covered by insurance but believe that there are costs that will not. It is for these costs that we started the GoFundMe Site.
One more thing - My dad has always loved this song and it seems more than appropriate for this week in our lives. I'm pretty sure it will be sung plenty of times today while they are working so I will leave you with it.
I haven't written about being a caregiver in a long time. Mostly my silence on the subject has been because I've compiled my earlier writings into a memoir and am looking to publish. It's all very exciting and scary and vulnerable.
But over Thanksgiving weekend, Pete and I went to DC for our 20th wedding anniversary. Travel has become more difficult and we haven't been on a vacation in over a year together. I've traveled without him but we've been slow in figuring out what to do together - what will work? What won't? Do we have the energy to figure this out? to fail? We weren't sure.
But 20 years of marriage deserved some kind of vacation and so to DC we went. We live close enough to drive, just 3 1/2 hours away. We booked a room with a wheel in shower at the Harrington Hotel, just a block and a half off of the mall. We were excited to see some museums and eat some good food. Here are some pictures of our time away with some commentary of what worked, what didn't and bits and pieces of Scibienski humor sprinkled in here and there.
We traveled with one really large suitcase because I can only pull one suitcase at a time. And we decided to bring a pull bar that Pete uses in bed. His computer and my ipad were a must. Other than that we figured we would be in civilization and we could purchase something if needed. (And in fact we had to buy umbrellas on day two; thank God for hotel lobby stores.)
We both really enjoy art and we love good conversation - it's been the foundation of our lives together. So museums and food were a really good idea!
The thing about Pete and I is that we actually like one another. And so our mantra with traveling this time was "whatever happens, it's going to be ok. We're together." I'll admit that I almost lost my patience at least twice because his fatigue didn't kick in when I would've preferred it to kick in. I read at least 300 pages of a book. In other words, there was a lot of down time while Pete rested. But the truth is I really needed to rest. Sometimes I swear his fatigue is one of the greatest gifts in my life. Oh and the first morning, I almost wigged out when I thought there was no hot water - only to find out that I didn't know how to work the shower.
The number one learning I have from being a partner to someone who has a chronic illness is that things don't go as planned. So too much planning is a waste of time. And not enough planning is just plain stupid.
In the end, we came away with some Christmas gifts and some memories. Pete is still the coolest person I know and I'd pay $14 to marry him all over again.