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Daily Life

A House Fire

My mom called me this weekend and as soon as she said “Hi Jules….” I knew something was wrong. Turns out, there was a fire in my mom’s house….the house I grew up in.
I listened as she told me how she kept smelling something funny, and that sniffing out the smell led her to a corner in our family room, where she could hear the flames inside the wall. She told me how her boyfriend kicked a hole in the wall to use a fire extinguisher on the flames till the firemen came. She told me “I’m sorry Jules, but I think your piano is ruined.” She told me they were ok, but shaken up, and could not return home for 2-3 months.
It was around that time when I started to realize how this phone call could have went. I tried to focus on the fact that my mom was ok, and the house would be repaired. But I couldn’t help but think about how I would feel if something happened to my mom while I was in California.

When I thought about moving away from home, I didn’t think about the “what ifs.” I didn’t think about what I would miss out on. I didn’t think about what could happen while I was gone. (I didn’t think about earthquakes even though my mom repeatedly asked “Aren’t you worried about earthquakes?”

With dwindling long distance friendships, grandparents who are only getting older, and now a fire in the house I spent 20 years in….I’m learning what a sacrifice I made by leaving. I have no regrets, but I know I will always miss the feeling of home. Even if that home is different now.

Special thanks to everyone on Twitter who sent good thoughts and prayers my way when I mentioned the fire. It never ceases to amaze me how supportive you are.

Join the discussion 19 Comments

  • wow that is a pretty scary phone call to get. I worry about things like this happening to my mom and our ‘family’ home a lot. I’m glad they are ok and that they were able to stop it!
    xox dana

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that! I wish that “Thank goodness things were not worse” could make you feel better now, but it doesn’t really. How terrifying and how hard it must be not to be there right now. Prayers!

  • I’m so glad your family is ok. Sending you my prayers and support.

  • ...sarah. says:

    I’m so glad everything is going to be ok! Material things can be replaced, your family cannot. How scary!

  • I’m so glad everyone’s okay!

  • emily says:

    Definitely scary, and definitely good that everyone is alright. California is amazing and I fully support your decision to be here with us! But I grew up in California and that feeling of “home” has compelled me to stay in Los Angeles. I have young nieces and most of my family nearby, so that made it worth it to me to abandon ideas about moving to San Francisco, NYC, Seattle… it’s tough though. You’ll feel like you’re giving something up, either way. It just depends on which dream you decide to pursue.

  • Oh so scary! That is one of my biggest fears; either a fire at our house or a fire at a loved ones house. So, So glad everything is Ok. Items can always be replaced.

  • Rachel W K says:

    oh my gosh what a scary thing to happen. i’m so happy to hear everyone is safe. of course that’s a terrible experience, and now to be away from home during the holidays. I realized how much being so far from home affected me when my mom had a stroke. Suddenly nothing seemed more important than just being back home, for months at a time. i hate when something horrible has to happen for us to realize what’s important!
    glad all is safe

    -rachel w k

  • lolly says:

    A very scary phone call, indeed, but I am glad they are okay.

    When I made the move out here I never thought about the “what ifs” either. I miss the feeling of home a lot, too, but even if I went back (with all that’s happened on my Dad’s side) it wouldn’t be the same feeling. It’s long gone now.

    It’s hard receiving phone calls when a relative passes away but I believe I made the right decision moving here – 🙂

    I also have yet to feel a big earthquake out here. I’ve felt teeny, tiny 1 sec “shakes” and that’s all.

  • ElleSee says:

    I’m glad your mom is okay. That is never a phone call anyone wants to get, even if you live closer to home. I remember hearing once that you shouldn’t live your life with “what ifs”; it really limits what you can do with your life. My husband and I once dreamed of moving to a far away place, but never did. I don’t regret it now, but it would have been nice to have a little adventure, like you 🙂

  • That’s pretty scary 🙁 I’m so sorry to hear about your mom’s house, but I’m glad everyone is okay!


  • Dawn says:

    I am so glad that everyone is safe and that the fire was no more devastating than it was. I completely understand about not having that feeling of being “home.” A couple years ago, my mom had an awful fall. She has MS as well, so I was really worried about her; she had cracked ribs, a broken face, a shattered hand. I felt awful that I could not be with her, that I couldn’t comfort her. Those moments of homesickness and desire and nostalgia always seem to arise when something of great importance comes along. Take care, and I’ll keep your family in my prayers in the meantime.

  • ImAprilE says:

    So sorry to hear this, but very happy your family is OK. Thinking about you…

  • BCshutterbug says:

    I’m very glad everyone is safe! That must have been very jarring. I understand the feeling that you’re having (especially with Christmas and New Years coming up). I moved away from home just about two years ago and so much has happened back home, some of it good some of it bad. One of the biggest things about this is was my dad getting sick, that scared me to death and I felt so helpless because I couldn’t even go visit him (I have seen him a couple times since and he’s doing great now). And my grandmother passed away. The year before my brother had the first grandbaby of the family. I’m an Auntie and my nephew doesn’t even know me. Things are hard, but at the same time I’m sure there’s things that have happened to you that have changed your life in ways that make it worth the move. There’s no reason to stop missing home, home is always one of the best places in the world…even if it doesn’t stay the same 🙂

  • Prachee says:

    Good to know your family is safe. I can so relate to you, bcoz i stay away too. But these are the times when you suddenly feel, why do I stay away from them and why am I not there when they need us the most! But thats life…

  • Andrea says:

    I’m sorry sorry to hear about your mom’s house. Thankfully everyone is OK. Hearing about your story, definite puts things in perspective.

    Best of luck to your mom and her boyfriend as the house is fixed.

  • wow! that could have been even worse. Even still…it’s rough to have a fire. In the area I live, a deserty area, there are fires every summer and fall. Lots of people lose their homes. It’s really crazy, but it’s really awesome how people rally around when something tragic like that happens. Glad they’re ok!

  • Jess says:

    happy to hear this situation turned out (relatively) okay. i can completely relate to the those kind of thoughts following a big move, and was interested to see you talk about it here. i’m a new follower, glad i found you!

  • Hee103 says:

    I’m glad your families are ok.
    I’m also away from my family, so so far away that I cannot go home as frequent as I want to, I know how you feel.
    I hope everything’s going well.

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