Press-Republican

Columns

July 25, 2012

Tragedy and happiness part of life

Since the end of June, my emotions have been up and down like a roller coaster.

First, the terrible fires in Colorado Springs; then dear friend John Neveu passed away; followed by the horrific deaths of Moira Historical Society’s Janet Dana, her daughter-in-law and two grandchildren; then the terrible carnage in the movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Personal and national grief, but grief all the same.

In such darkness, there can be little sparks of hope. I know when the Colorado Springs fire was endangering the home of our daughter, Carrie, and her family, it brought me great comfort to receive phone calls from friends and emails from our readers asking if they were OK.

They live on the northeast side of Colorado Springs, and the fires were ravaging the northwest side. That, however, didn’t leave them home free.

Carrie said that on the third day of the fires the wind changed, blowing down from the northwest, filled with ash that covered everything. They couldn’t go outside without wet washcloths on their faces because the ash would clog their breathing. Two teenagers who think they are invincible defied “mom” and played basketball in the driveway. The next day they were complaining of sore throats and coughing. Pays to listen to mom.

Just in case of an evacuation notice, Carrie packed a backpack for each of the nine children; herself; and her husband, Rick; three rat terriers; and a golden retriever. Like moving a small army! The teenagers (who have driver’s licenses) were told to stick close to home because they may have to drive

one of their six cars, and mom wanted everybody to stay together if they had to leave.

Fears ran high, especially at night. From their hillside home, they could see the red glare over the city. The younger kids worried about their favorite things. Carrie told them to pick out their best toy to take and make a list of other large items. She told them that if the house burned, there was insurance money to build a new house and replace their favorite things but that the most important blessing they have is the family being together.

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