A year ago, my parents sold everything and decided they would spend my inheritance and travel the world. We track their travels an a page called Postcards from Everywhere. Its been fine. They have a home base set up at my sisters new Dynasty/Dallas Epic Soap Opera type home. The sister lives 1.5km away from me. WAY farther than before which was 1.5 blocks. They are super happy. We refer to my parents as ‘foreign workers’ who live in the basement suite and make the dinners and tend the garden when they are in town. Soon they will be back on the road living in Kent, England for the summer.

I have become accustomed to not calling or texting my mom because she doesn’t answer her phone anyways, so I text Sister who then gets mom to call me. Its like I have become the centre of attention again. Its awesome. AND the best part is Sister gets the help calls…not me. So I win!

I didn’t expect to feel so lost yesterday… I’ll explain.

Saturday morning at 4:00 AM MST, my parents old home burned down. It was gutted. Nothing is salvageable. It was a couple of blocks away from me. My parents lived there for 15 years. It wasn’t my childhood home, but it was the home of my kid’s grandparents. The home they would go to after school for milkshakes and cookies. They home we hung out at for Christmas and Summer BBQs. The home where my puppy like to visit because Grandpa gives great ear rubs.

I received a text from my neighbour saying, “Please tell me your parents no longer live in that house a few blocks away”


We had heard on the news that a house near the park burned to the ground. I had thought, “I hope no one was hurt” but because it didn’t effect me, I was fine.

I felt the need to go and drive by. We drove past the house and I was stunned. I told the Hubs to stop because I had to get out. I stood in front of the house and told the Firefighter that my parents used to live here. I was in shock. I couldn’t process what I was feeling. I wandered around outside the temporary fence investigators put up, covered my mouth and just stared.


It was surreal.

I swear I saw ghosts of Christmas Past wandering around through the rubble. I saw my kids run through the house and their giant cousins chasing them. I saw my parents sitting on the front porch. I saw my niece and Chatter Box sitting in the kitchen window decorating cookies.


I didn’t know how to process what I was feeling. It was final now for me. It was no longer my parents home.

I went to my Sister’s home and shared the news and photos. Sister was stunned like me. My mom seemed okay…. it wasn’t her’s any more. Dad said he didn’t know how to feel.

But still…

I posted the photos on Facebook. I received a lot of lovely comments from everyone. But really…it was just a building that my family had no claim to anymore. Why was I sad?

Then my mom wrote something that snapped me out of my dazed and confused feeling,

“Actually I was relieved when I saw it burned. The new owners never looked after the yard so I can only image what the inside looked like. For some odd reason it feels better having it destroyed than abused.”

There you have it. None of us would drive by it because it was upsetting to see how those people looked after it. Sure it was their home, but they did not have the same values as us. No pride in their home. Thats fine, it was theirs to do with as they please. We just didn’t want to see. So we traveled a different way.

I have come to realize that I am melancholy for a different reason. My children are no longer small. Everyone is growing up with girl friends and boy friends and careers and life plans. I don’t want to hold onto them as little beings. I love that they have become amazing adults and have made great choices for their future. I love that they are so independent and our family moves together through the future independently, yet come together to celebrate success and support each other is time of stress and sadness.

My family is safe and sound. That other family needs to rebuild. They will somehow figure it out. We all do in the end.


8 thoughts on “Fire!

  1. I can’t even imagine the feelings I would feel if one of my parent’s old homes burnt down. Yes, they are no longer there, but it’s still a huge part of our history and past together. I think Aunt Evelyn has put a very good spin on the whole thing. It would also be hard to see some letting one of the old houses turn into shambles.

    Most importantly everybody is safe.

  2. Poignant post.

    I sometimes drive past a house my husband and I lived in at one time. I loved that house, but we decided we wanted to try country living and so we moved to another town over the state line where we could buy more property. I love the house I currently live in, but I still have great affection to the other house.

    The last time I drove past the house, I stopped the car for a moment. The people who now live there saw me staring at the house and came to my car window to say hello. I told them I used to live there and that it had been a happy house. The woman invited me inside to see it again.

    It was strange to revisit, to see the changes they had made. Silly me, but I wondered if the house still remembered me! 😀

  3. Hi Robyn,

    I think your very first sentence says what you think about your parents’ retirements plans.. 🙂

    I’m sorry about to hear about the house. It may or may not have been something your mom is OK with, but I’m sure that I’ve had the same kind of visceral reactions as you did.

    I’ve had lots of culture shocks and disruptions over the course of my life and each one is its own kind of pain. Sometimes bitter, sometimes stinging, sometimes just bittersweet. They all change us a little, sometimes to grow, sometimes to wear is down a little.

    All I have to offer is sympathy and empathy, and hope you’re OK.

    Cheers, SD.

    1. Yes and no. The inheritance bit is humour. It is a long stand joke that has been part of my family experience for generations. What is hard to live with is the travel the world part. Even when they are ‘home’ I rarely see them anymore. They live with sister and do stuff with sister. Pass on doing stuff because they are with sister. End of story. So I am sad for time not spent with them unless sister is there. It adds a different flavour to the mix.

      Sad is the adjective that I feel. Although it is more about change than losing a house that no one of importance in my life lived live in.

      Thanks SD

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