On February 8th at 11:15 am, my sister Brittany’s life changed without her even knowing it. While she was at work, at Hartford Hospital, a fire had started in an upper adjacent apartment and was burning through the attic undetected. By the time the smoke was visible, it was too late. Even with the incredible response time of the fire department (under 5 minutes), the fire consumed several apartments and the remainder of the building suffered smoke and water damage.
Brittany was shocked to hear the news when she received the call. Her first concern was the safety of her beloved companions, Harley and Enzo, who she had left sleeping on the couch hours earlier. The voice on the other end of the phone was only able to confirm the safety of Harley. She rushed home with a racing mind and heavy heart. As she approached the scene, her heart stopped. It was much worse than she had expected. As any mom would do, she pleaded for one last sweep of the building as she was sure that Enzo was simply hiding. She was turned away several times, but her persistence won out. The fire department completed one last sweep and was able to find Enzo, waiting under the bed, and a neighbor cat wandering the hall. Relief, at least for now. A family united.
Her story does not end there; it is just the beginning. The beginning of a brand new life. Her home was a total loss. The sacred space that she had worked so hard for was gone. Her optimism kept her going for the first few hours, grateful for the lives spared. Grateful for the hard working firemen who risked their lives to save others. Grateful for the property management representative found her passport and a few pictures of her family. Grateful for her support system and the outpouring of love.
It is in these moments, when life changing events occur that we have time to reflect. My sister gives selflessly to others every day. She works long hours in the operating room, putting the patients’ needs first, in hopes to save and/or improve someone else’s life. I cannot imagine the stress of this job, hence why her home sanctuary is so important to her. After a long day, she returns home to relax on the couch while listening to her vinyl record collection, surrounded by the love she sees in pictures of her family and friends, paintings from faraway places, and her collection of souvenirs given as gifts or collected on her many journeys. Each item in her home evokes a memory which brings comfort, laughter, joy, and love.
The fire on February 8th may have destroyed all of Brittany's possessions but I know it will not destroy her spirit. She needs our help to rebuild her sanctuary. Please consider making a donation to assist her in her time of need.
With much love and gratitude to all!