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Winston Churchill said: “If you are going through hell, keep going.”

The night before my apartment burned down, I was lying in my bed weeping and praying for a less chaotic life. My life was adrift and I was collecting bad habits as I moved aimlessly through it. I was smoking and drinking to excess and was in a bad, on-again, off-again, relationship with a boyfriend. I was so sad and so lost. I prayed and I cried.


The night after the fire I was propped up in a hotel room bed with a cat and a dog, both injured but alive. I gulped a tear filled laugh, as I thought about my desperate prayers from the night before. ….Had I gotten the less chaotic life I asked for?


I had less stuff, that was for sure.


The time following the fire was character building to say the least. Starting with the dreaded phone call to my father, also known as Lt. C. K. Zamek of the Waterford Township Fire Department.


The fire was considered “suspicious” so there was an investigation. A water main had broken and destroyed the uninsured woman’s apartment below mine so there was a lawsuit. The dog, which I was not suppose to have in the apartment, and belonged to the exish-boyfriend, had gotten severely burned and was in need of around the clock care. It seemed everything had gotten even worse.


The exish-boyfriend had become a suspect. The investigation DID prove he was likely responsible for the fire (totally unintentional I need to add in his defense). It was at this point that he had decided to tell me that he was seeing someone else.


…So, at least now I knew what it felt like to hit bottom….


At this point you might think I’m going to tell you to be “careful what you pray for.” But I’m not going to do that, I might suggest you “brace for it,” but not to be careful. You see, after being “liberated” from my home, my belongings, and an unhealthy relationship things started to become clear to me and the first principal for dealing with life’s major upsets began to emerge.


Principal #1

You don’t pick-up the pieces and get on with your life. Oh no. When your life is shattered, it’s not going back to what it was before the fracture. A fire teaches this principal really well. Once the photo album, cross country skies, and antique bedroom-set turns into so much soot, they do not, they can not, turn back into the items you once knew them as. Similarly once a life goes through a monumental shift it can no longer return to what it once was. After a life has “fallen apart” it needs to become a new life, with new parameters.

That’s all for tonight. Please feel free to comments if you would like and  come back for more of this conversation.  In my up coming post, I want to review of what I mean by “new parameters” and then talk about the next step in “How to Move Through Hell”.


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(ps: I’ve been getting comments, emails and sweet tweets wishing me the best to recover from the fire.  I see that in my story I did not make it clear when the fire was.  This is not a recent event in my life but it was an important one.  Life today is rich and full with good people and a great husband in it, I live a clean and sober and healthy life these days.)