Yesterday I woke up to the most disheartening news. My good friend, Erika Pineda, a fellow food blogger and photographer was affected by a devastating fire which engulfed her home and all of her belongings to ashes. Fortunately for her and her family, everyone made it out with only the clothes on their backs. All their possessions including priceless family photos are gone. As a result, my friend Maggy and I started a website called Friends of Ivory Hut to raise awareness and support to assist them during these traumatic time. Here is what Erika wrote on her own blog….
Last night, my head was preoccupied with last minute work on a special project and putting the finishing touches on a post. My husband Tom and I had also been discussing the logistics of possibly attending BlogHer Food 2010 in San Francisco. These were the things that weighed on my mind.
A mere hour or so later—and instant, really—we were outside, in our shirts and shorts, watching our house crumble as it was engulfed in flames. I’ll never forget that hissing and crackling noise as my husband’s home of almost 30 years practically disintegrated before our eyes.
But we were safe. All of us. Our son Tim, without hesitation, ran back inside when he realized his grandmother was sleeping upstairs. By the time he got to her, it was too late to try and exit the house the same way he came in. Fortunately, Tom had devised a fire escape plan years ago, and Tim was able to bodily carry his feeble 82-year-old grandmother out the window, onto the roof, and eventually down on the deck. The sight of this brave son of mine carrying his grandmother as he ran down the lawn and away from the house is one I will never forget.
Obviously, none of us slept last night. We are fortunate to belong to a congregation that is as close to us as family, and one of our dear friends drove to our house last night to pick us up and take us to her home, which is where I sit right now, typing this.
The magnitude of the loss is almost too much to comprehend in its entirety. So last night, I mentally walked through all the rooms in the house, taking stock of what was valuable in that room, and then systematically making peace with the loss. I said goodbye to my new MacBook Pro, my 500GB drive of photographs, another 500GB drive of music files. My purse, with all my identification cards, and all the car keys—car keys that are useless anyway, since the flames have likely taken our cars too. Our passports and birth certificates. My husband’s prosthetic leg, without which he is unable to freely move around. Our shoes, all our clothes, and our musical equipment. My engagement ring and my wedding ring, and a gold bracelet passed on to me by my mother on my wedding day.
My baby pictures, which are the only remaining proof that once upon a time, I was actually cute. My iPod Touch, the value of which is immeasurable because it held all my half-finished songs, poems, and writings.
But when I weigh it all against the value of being able to hold my husband’s hand and my son’s hand last night as we said a family prayer of thanks for our survival, as well as a petition for strength to deal with the days to come, and the fact that this morning, I woke up to a day with both of them still with me, then I still think I got the better end of the deal.
Oh, and I’m sorry there are no photos in this post. You see, my beloved Canon 5D and all those lenses I had? They’re gone too.
Which stings, I’ll admit. But all I have to do is throw a glance my family’s way and yep, I’m still blessed.
Erika is an amazing woman of great strength and character. Maggy and I with the help of the food blogging community are asking our readers to consider donating money to help them during this time. If you are compelled to give, I encourage you to read what we’re doing and why we are doing it. I also invite you to share Erika’s story with your readership, friends, and family. I thank you in advance for taking the time to read about our efforts.