Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Going Home to Roy Lane

A sunny summer day on Roy Lane
When I heard the news of a fire in Abasand I admit my heart leapt into my throat, forming a lump there that has not yet gone away. It was on my media feed first thing this morning when I awoke, and my first thought was that surely, almost definitely, it could not have possibly occurred on the street where I had lived in Abasand, the place where my then-husband and I had built a house and where we had happily lived for several years. And when I heard the name of the street I felt something I cannot quite describe, because when I read the name it was that street, and very close to my former family home.
I was one of the first residents on Roy Lane, and one of the first to purchase a home there. In fact while we waited for our house there to be finished we bought a house two blocks away so we could keep an eye on the construction, my husband and the Intrepid Junior Blogger walking over almost every evening to watch the progress. We made several modifications to the house, making it ours before we even moved in, and it was our home for many years.

The pictures hurt my heart. Our old house, a place that will always be special to me because it holds memories of a time so close to me, survived the fire it seems – but several did not. Several of the neighbouring houses went up in flames, but as my reaction this morning told me these were not just “houses” – they were homes.

I don’t know about you, but I have a connection to my homes, both present and past, and my neighbourhoods, the ones where I grew up and where I lived over my life. I am one of those people who will drive by their old homes to reminisce, to remember and reflect on days gone by.
I don’t know if I will be able to drive down Roy Lane again, because it will hurt so deeply to see the tragedy that unfolded early this morning and that stole the homes of my neighbours. That lump in my throat hurts and I have felt off-kilter all day, trying to comprehend what happened not only in my community but in a neighbourhood I love and where I spent some of my happiest times as a young family in this community.

And it’s not even my house that burnt down. I cannot even imagine what those who managed to escape with their lives are feeling, but I know that I hurt so badly for them and for everyone on Roy Lane that I can feel the tears threatening to spill at any moment.
We can help as a community. There is a Go Fund Me site setup, as the families who lost their homes will need assistance in these early days as they try to recover from the shock, and I encourage everyone to donate what they can.

 I am so grateful that no person died, although a family has lost a beloved pet and that is a sad loss for anyone to endure. I am so grateful to the Fort McMurray Fire Fighters who answered the call and who stopped the spread before even more houses could be engulfed in flames.
I find myself lost in memories today, of watching the houses that burned down being built as we lived in the house across the street as they finished their construction. I think about all the neighbours we knew there and how we loved that street. And I find myself unable to write much more, as I feel raw and deeply unsettled, for once unable to truly express what I feel except perhaps in one word.

I am, simply, heartbroken for Roy Lane, and all those who have homes there, just as I once did. These were not houses. They were homes. My address might have changed, but today my heart and mind has gone home to Roy Lane, and will be there for some time to come.

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