Three days ago my parents-in-law lost their house to a fire. They had lived in this house for over 30 years, since their twin boys were toddlers. They had long since paid it off, and have spent three decades filling it with everything that means something to them. They have done endless renovations themselves, they have shared it with their children and with tenants who became like family, with their children's children, with friends and family and pets. I can't think of another couple who has been so firmly planted and has grown so beautifully in one spot for so many years as these two. I have been heartbroken for them these last few days, and I cannot even begin to imagine the depth of their devastation. They may be able to rebuild, and if not they will no doubt find a new place to call home, but so much of what they held dear is gone. Irreplaceable.
Except each other.
J and I like to remind each other in difficult times that at least we still have each other. We have never been through something that would force us to cling so desperately to that sentiment. These two have. And as much as I have been repeating over and over for the past few days what a complete injustice this is - and it is that - there is one piece of this story that always floats to the surface of my mind. I cannot imagine a relationship that is better equipped to deal with this kind of tragedy.
When J spoke to them just an hour or so after the fire started, as they were standing outside watching their house burn, he asked if they were able to get anything out. His father said - "Just your mom." These two still have each other, and that, truly, is all each of them really needs.