When my Design Team assignment with the Scrapping Turtle came to an end I was very sad. It was a huge part of my life and meant the world to me. It is more than a scrapbook store, it is my happy place, filled with people who mean a great deal to me. Being on the DT was a very significant thing in my life -- it was something I felt I was good at, something I could be proud of. But I'd been on the DT for two terms and at that point I was working part time, in the midst of report cards, and planning on a full time return to work by the end of March. I couldn't do it all, not with all of the health issues I was still fighting. So the DT term came to an end and I found myself taking a break from the regular scrapbooking and card making challenges.
In much the same way that I had missed teaching during the time that I'd been unable to work, I now found myself missing this part of my life as well. Without the deadlines, it was too easy to give in to exhaustion and other priorities, leaving creativity behind. My heart wanted to, but my mind and body just wouldn't let me pick up my scrapbook supplies and create something. I kept telling myself that once I got into a routine I'd get my mojo back, that things would return to normal, that I'd find a rhythm in which I could do all the things I wanted to do once again. I kept telling myself that tomorrow would be the day when I'd find the time and energy to create a layout or make a card, tomorrow I'd be inspired.
You'd think that the lack of motivation would at least mean that I slowed down on purchasing scrapbook supplies, but that wasn't the case. As with everything I've been "obsessed" with in my life, I continue to buy, buy, buy -- even if it is only being placed on a shelf. I've done this with books, CDs, DVDs, and every craft I've encountered -- instead of buying one or two things I have to have everything, just in case it is no longer there the next time I go back. I continued to enjoy visiting my LSS and picking up some lovely new goodies. I purchased with the best of intentions, with ideas racing around my head, but once I brought them home I was too tired to begin or I had to focus on something for work. I'll get to it tomorrow.
Then came the shocking news. On the morning of March 27th my brother phoned, frantic that something had happened to our very dear aunt. He'd heard a loud noise not long before he'd called me and when he went outside he could see black smoke in the distance over by where she lived. After talking to me and telling me how worried he was, he tried driving past her building, but the streets leading to it were barricaded and he couldn't get through. He parked as close as he could get and set out on foot, his heart filled with fear. The closer he got the more he knew that this was very very bad.
The apartment building my aunt lived in was engulfed in flames. Around 8:30 a.m. that Sunday morning, a massive explosion shook the building. An entire section of the building collapsed in flames. My aunt's apartment was in that section. Her daughter scoured the city looking for her mom and my brother helped as much as he could. They checked out everywhere they could think that she might have gone -- walked the paths she used for her daily walks, visited every store that she had ever shopped at, called everyone they could think of that she could possibly be visiting, and repeatedly called the Red Cross to see if she had turned up, but she hadn't. We hoped and prayed that she would be somewhere safe, somewhere that she couldn't contact us from (in the middle of a field taking a walk perhaps) or somewhere that she hadn't heard about the explosion and fire. By that night my aunt was one of the people still unaccounted for. Everyone was hopeful that the missing people would turn up after a weekend away or something, but her daughter and the rest of the family knew in our hearts that she wasn't somewhere safe. She'd never let any of us worry for even a moment. She'd never go away without telling her daughter where she was going.
Over the next few days her daughter held a vigil in the parking lot, watching the fire department methodically search the rubble, carefully moving debris. My aunt was one of two people still missing the day after the explosion. Her daughter vowed to maintain her vigil until they brought her mother home -- and she did, joined by her brother and her niece, and other family members over the next few days. You can't help but hope that there will be some kind of miracle, some kind of Hollywood-esque moment in which they move a chunk of concrete and find an air pocket where your loved one has been trapped, battered and shaken and dehydrated but otherwise miraculously safe from harm. You hope, even though you know that it is just a matter of time ... you hope because there is nothing else that you can do.
I watched the news footage over and over on Sunday and Monday and Tuesday -- staring at all of the people in the crowd, hoping that I'd see my aunt in the crowd safe and sound with maybe a bump on her head causing her to not know who she was. I've always had a vivid imagination so I came up with all kinds of possibilities, all of which involved her being alive and unable to let us know for some unrealistic reason or another. Even as I joined my cousin in her vigil on Tuesday I hoped and prayed for that miracle, for that Hollywood moment. We didn't get it.
At approximately 8:30 a.m. on March 27th I believe that God reached down and picked up my aunt and the other resident, carrying them home. I believe that it all happened so quickly that neither of them felt any pain, that neither of them suffered at all. On March 30th the recovery teams brought my aunt's body home to her family. Later that same day they brought the other resident's body home to his family.
Even now I don't really believe that any of this happened. I mean, I know it did, I saw the rubble, I went to her memorial -- but it still hasn't hit me that this wonderful caring loving woman is really and truly gone from this earth. Or maybe the grief is manifesting itself in a different way. When I sit down and try to be creative I find my mind racing, wondering what the point is, asking why this had to happen. I find myself dwelling on the question of tomorrow - wondering what would happen if it never comes. I don't have any answers. All I know is that somewhere in there I lost my creativity, I lost that belief in myself that I could create something good and worthwhile, I lost the desire to lose myself in the muse for hours at a time.
I want it back ...