At first we thought everything had been lost in the fire. We got the call early on our first morning of a family vacation. My husband and I left our kids with my family and drove as fast as we could to his hometown.
The house wasn’t smoking anymore. It still smelled of melted plastic and smoke and hell. I didn’t expect the sulfur odor that would come to permeate our clothes, our shoes, and our hair as we later searched the ruins.
I recognized bits from the frames that once held photos of our children on the carousel at Disney World. We stepped around bits of curved glass from the snow globe we bought for his mother when we went to England.
The lost of my mother-in-law in this tragedy was beyond everything else, but the loss of so many mementos of her life made the pain even more intense. To have our memories of her captured in our own photos and films gives our children their only view of her now.
It was my pleasure a decade before to join her family, to share being a Mrs. Parris, to love her son and raise her grandchildren. On my wedding day I was too focused on my groom to notice our parents much, but now I can watch and catch a glimpse of her. I treasure these memories.