Welcome to the thoughts, rants and passions of a young Muslim woman seeking soulful enlightenment in cyberspace.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

When Everything's Gone...

By now, you may have heard of Ginny Quick, a blind Muslim who unfortunately lost all of her belongings on Sunday in a devastating house fire. While it may be possible to conceive of how difficult it is to lose everything, it is almost impossible to fully understand what it means for a blind person to cope in such circumstances. If you would like to help Ginny - and I strongly urge you to do so - please visit the site set up for that express purpose. Kudos to Indigo Jo, Sister Scorpion and others for bringing this to the attention of the Muslim community. I did not know of Ginny before this incident, but it appears these individuals do, and I trust their judgement.

Ginny's personal account got to me more than any other passionate plea from fellow bloggers, and I hope that by sharing it, you may feel inclined to offer your assistance in whatever way you can. Remember to visit this website for more information.

Here's Ginny's story:

Assalamu alaikum, I am never sure how to start things like this, I'm never good at intros. However, I'll just tell what happened. I woke up at about 12 yesterday afternoon (Sunday), I had been awake earlier, when my brother and sister-in-law had knocked on my door to tell me that they were leaving, and I was going to get up then, but I fell back to sleep. The next thing I knew, it was 12 noon, so I thought I should get up.

I got up, and went into the living room to check my email. There were some guys outside cutting some trees down in the back yard. Abby, who is my Leader Dog, started acting funny. At first, I thought it was because of the sound of the backhoe and chainsaw, but I didn't thinkit was that, because it wasn't that loud, and she could look out the back kitchen window and see the guys working. then, I heard what I thought were branches brushing up against the roof and walls.

Abby kept barking at me, and jumping around. I thought she just really needed to go out. I told her to give me a few minutes to check my email, and then I'd take her.

So I sat down and started looking through my email, and Abby kept barking at me and jumping around. So finally, I decided that I'd go ahead and take her out. Usually, she would wait for me to finish what I was doing, but I just thought that she really needed to go out. So, I went into my room, through a scarf on my head, and my jacket on, grabbed Abby's leash, went to the door and put my shoes on, as I take them off when I come in the house, and thus they were by the door, and out the door I went.

While I was out with Abby, I was listening to the men cutting the trees down. All of a sudden, one of them came and asked me if we still had power, I said that as far as I knew we did. Then, another man said he saw smoke coming out of the house. Then, the landlord came running around the side of the house, and when he opened the door, I could hear the smoke alarm going off. Then, it seemed like a few seconds later, I heard someone say there was a fire, and started to hear the sound of the fire. Then, I heard some of the windows start breaking. I also started to feel the heat coming off of the house.

When I realized that the house was on fire, I started to scream for them to get the puppy and kitty. We had an 8-week old puppy called Onyx and an 8-month old cat called Oreo.

I think I heard the landlord saying he couldn't get the animals because the smoke and fire were already too bad. By this time, I'd backed up in to the road, because the fire seemed to be getting worse.

Then, one of the neighbors came and got me and walked me away from the house. By this time, I was crying, and asking what happened, and asking about our animals, minus Abby who was with me. There were some minor explosions so they started asking me if my brother kept guns in the house, to which I told them that I didn't think he did, but I didn't know.

The neighbors had by this time called the fire department and had also called my sister-in-law. I could heare the fire burning too. I was slowly coming to the realization that all of our stuff was probably going to be gone!

I started trying to think if maybe I had done something to start it, I knew I hadn't but still, I started thinking that. I also remember thinking how I should have tried to get the animals out, but when I walked out of the house, I had no way of knowing that the house was on fire, or would be. The fire department got there, and then my sister-in-law and her mom and stepdad got there, and some other people started showing up.

We then had to find my brother, because he was working on a friend's car, and he was out test driving it. We finally found him, and my parents also came.

When I saw my brother and sister-in-law, we all just started holding each other and crying. We were all just in shock.

The firemen started putting out the fire, and the Red Cross people started asking us if we needed anything, and if we had a place to stay.

The rest of what I remember is just a hodge podge of things. I remember the smell of the smoke. I remember telling people about how I got out. I remember people telling us if we needed anything to come to the store to get it. I remember wondering about missing dhuhr and Asr prayer. I also remember thinking how I was going to ask about getting Islamic clothes. I also remember how the neighbor kept telling me how it wasn't my fault, that it was a really old house, and how I kept saying I was sorry and how the neighbor kept telling me "I've told you, it's not your fault!"

I also remember Abby getting excited to see Mom and Dad. Other than that, she didn't seem upset by all the people or the fire, she was so calm. I also started to realize that Abby had probably saved my life, or I should say, Allah made her to do that, by His Will and Permission, He used her to warn me and get me out of there.

I remember feeling out the Red Cross stuff and someone gave me a bottle of water, and a snack cake. I hadn't eaten that day, and I needed to eat but I was afraid I'd get sick if I did. Mom said I should go ahead and try to eat, and if I was going to be sick, she'd just take me to some grass away from people.

Then, Mom left to go with my brother to talk to the landlord, and Dad put Abby in the car. I then just sat there listening to all the people. I wanted to go home, meaning back to my parents.

Then, after a while, my mom and dad took me home. Then, they went back over to the house to see if anything could be saved. My purse with all my ID documents made it, although they need to be dried out, and my djembeh drum that I got from The Gambia made it, but the bag I got to carry it in is scorched and it fell apart when my mom tried to wash it. My cane was scorched, so I have to get a new one. We thought some of my clothes were saved, but we think we're going to have to throw them out because we can't get the smellof smoke out of them.

The rest of the day, I was just shaking, and I could still hear the sound of the fire in my head, along with the sound of the trucks and the water and the sound of breaking glass and crackling wood. I was afraid to go to sleep last night because I was afraid of having nightmares. I slept a little, but I didn't have any bad dreams, alhamdulillah.

This is completely shocking to me, not so much because I lost pretty much everything, but because I feel I came so close to death. when I think about it, I don't thinkit was the sound of branches I heard, but the sound of the fire, already starting, in the walls of the house. I now think that was why Abby was so upset and wanted to go out so badly. It was so upsetting to see my brother and sister-in-law crying, I hardly ever see my brother cry...

It was just awful. But I know Allah was and is watching over me. I know He tests us in so many ways. I am striving to be patient. I haven't felt angry yet. Actually, I've been so overwhelmd with the support I've received from my friends and family! Everyone's thoughts, prayers, and good wishes are worth more to me than anything material. I feel so humbled by this experience. I really can't put into words how I feel. May Allah bless all of you who took the time to call or email or just to listen to me talk their heads off, as if I'd just drank a bunch of coffee or something.

I am truly grateful for everything everyone has offered to do. I love all of you for the sake of Allah ta'ala. This experience has truly made me grateful for my life and my family, and all of the past events which were causing me so much pain and trouble seem so insignificant and trivial now. Anyway, I think I should end this. My head is hurting and I need to try to sleep. Take care all.


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