When the Barn Burns Down

Last week, my mother’s condo unit burned down (along with all seven other units in the complex). My mother lost everything she owned; even her car, parked near the flames, suffered severe heat damage. But the most important thing is that my mom got out of the building in time and is completely unharmed, at least physically. Because I sensed she was going through the four stages of grief, I began re-reading the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross memoir, The Wheel of Life: A Memoir of Living and Dying, looking for a section that referenced these four stages (because I didn’t own Kubler-Ross’s original work, On Death and Dying).

While reading the memoir, I remembered that Kubler-Ross too had lost everything, at an advanced age, to a fire when her property was deliberately burned because her community had learned (this was in the late 1980s) that she planned to begin a Hospice for babies with AIDS on her property. This memoir is probably one of the reasons I fell in love with memoir and began working within the genre in my own writing. It is also an amazing story of a person who decided, after reviewing countless patients who had experienced life-after-death situations, that the only reason we are here is to give love to others.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Fettig

What’s left of my mom’s condo building.

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