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What’s the Point.

I was sitting on a bike, pedaling to nowhere in Lifetime spin class on Wednesday morning, looking around, thinking about how much I hated that class and all the people in it… I watched the clock slowly tick from 5:30 all the way to 6:30.  Thank God, I thought.  6:30.  Stupid class was over.  I went over to the nearby aerobics studio to stretch and do some abs when I got a call from my mom on my cell.

6:30am phone call.  My mom. Calling from Savannah. Not a good sign.

Our house is on fire, she said, crying.  Our house. It’s burning, Meredith. Oh my gosh…

She was standing outside, with my dad, watching their home, my childhood home, burn.

I hung up with her and ran out of the gym.  Then I ran back into the gym, because I needed to shower somewhere.  I showered.  I left my gym card in the locker. I got in the car and I started to drive home from Atlanta to Savannah, but I realized it was rush hour, and there was no point.  Then I started to drive to my house, but that didn’t make any sense.  So instead, I went to work.  I tried to find all the loose ends to tie before I left.  And then I remembered the Expert was leaving for Australia. The kids. Deadlines. The complicated things…

I couldn’t connect the dots to make any sense.

Over the course of the morning, I talked to my parents.  The fire is out.  We don’t know the damage.  We don’t know what we are going to do.  Yes, we called the insurance company.  No need for you to come home. 

So I didn’t go home to Savannah.  I should have, but I listened to them.  Instead I book them a hotel to take up residence… and I waited for updates from them.  Then a friend texts me a picture of the damage, and I am dumbstruck.

This is what used to be my dad’s shop and photography studio.  The walls in the background are my parents’ bedroom and spare room.  The major living area was salvaged and saved from fire – but the smoke damage is irreparable.  
We smell like smoke.  Even my deodorant smells like smoke, mom said from the hotel this afternoon. I don’t know when we can go home. The wiring is shot.  So much has to be replaced.  I don’t know if the smoke smell will ever go away.

I told her I should be there, I should have come home.  No, she said. It’s too sad. There’s nothing for you to do.  And I want you home with my grandbabies.  They need you more than this mess needs you. 

Early this morning, I went for a run, hoping that somehow I could beat all the sadness and fears out of me.  It didn’t work.  Instead, the thirteen mile planned run came to a screeching halt.  
At four miles, I stopped and started sobbing.  I didn’t cry my usual gratefulness cry, but this was more of a helpless cry.  From the greenway, I wasn’t helping my parents.  I wasn’t helping my children.  I wasn’t working.  I wasn’t curing cancer.

For God’s sake. I was running.  In the woods.  For what?  For w-h-a-t.
I dialed Coach Monster from a bench. I needed him to talk me off the ledge.  He didn’t answer.  I sat there, staring into the woods.  The trail was quiet.  And I cried.  I ate a Shot Blok or two.  I cried some more. I inhaled a Shot Blok.  Literally, during a sob I snorted Blok. 

Then I stood up and I ran.  Everything hurt.  My feet hurt from the crack shoes I wore to work yesterday.  My hip hurt.  My head hurt.  My brains hurt. My back, the muscles and the place where the heartrate monitor strap continues to tear into my skin, run after run… it hurt.  My heart hurt.  My parents… Everything.

I tried to run it all away.  This often works.  The angry run.  The sad run.  The purposeful run. But today, everything just kept hurting. 
At 8.5 miles, I stopped.   I walked to my car, and I left.  


  • TriGirl

    September 23, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Holy cow, Meredith. Thank goodness your parents did not get hurt! I don't think that there are words i (a person you don't know) can say to make any part of this better. But I hope it does get better soon.

  • Kristin

    September 23, 2011 at 3:33 am

    This is so terrible. Even as a complete stranger I can feel my heart breaking for your parents and for you. Fire is such a horrible, invading thing… Thank goodness your parents are safe and I am hoping that, in amongst all this bad, some good will come.

  • Juan

    September 23, 2011 at 3:35 am

    So sorry to hear about this Meredith, thank goodness no one was seriously hurt. I hope some of the irreplaceable items within the house can be somewhat salvaged. We'll keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers, please let us know what we can do to help.


    September 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I cried reading this. I am so sorry to hear that this happened to your parents. I give you a lot of credit for putting your thoughts and hurt down and sharing them. I will pray for your family, as I can't imagine how heartbreaking this must be.

  • Karen @ working it out...

    September 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Meredith, I just want to cry reading this. I am so sorry and so thankful that your parents are OK. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there.


    September 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    What a powerful post. I'm so sorry for all you're going through and you sound like a very strong person. Keep believing in yourself. Don't give up.

  • Andrea

    September 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    My heart go out to you & your family. We do these crazy endurance things to help us endure everything life throws at us. Stay strong. hugs & prayers!

  • Anonymous

    September 23, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    I hope you can be there for them. When Hurricane Rita destroy my parents' home, I drove down from Colorado (1200+ miles) to tear apart and help rebuild my childhood home. Everything was destroyed… a lot of memories were tossed into a huge pile of rubble.

    They didn't want me to come. I didn't listen. I think they needed the help (physically and psychologically), but I needed the closure. I hope you and your parents can find something to hold on to that makes it a bit more tolerable.

  • Swim Bike Mom

    September 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    I am "here" for them…but I just can't physically be there. That's the issue. With a husband currently in Australia and no one to watch my kids (no family up here in ATL) – I can't take my 2 and 3 year olds to Savannah and "help" with a toxic scene. My parents are displaced in a hotel, dealing with these issues – I can't bring crazy toddlers to a place with nowhere to stay, on a five hour car trip by myself – and get in the way of the work that has to be done… Yes, I wish I could go. But I can't. It's just tough. If it was just me… I would have been there by noon the day of. But I just can't make it work with my other responsibilities.

    I am always the first responder. For once, I simply could not be. The guilt associated with that is tough, but as I am learning, I have to do my best… forget the rest… and that's all that's left.

  • merri

    September 23, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    I'm brand new to your blog, over here from Mary's A Merry Life blog because i saw your name was Meredith like mine (merredith). I'm really sorry about your parents house!! I'm so glad they're ok though..


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