We all have significant dates in our lives that are not on the standard calendar. Sometimes those dates are based on happy events such as a marriage, a significant life change, a child’s birth, etc. Sometimes those dates are based on sad events such as a divorce, loss of a loved one or a dramatic change in life circumstances. The happy event dates are more likely to be written into your date book, but unfortunately the sad ones are the ones most likely to be burned in your psyche.
There is something important in the remembrance of those sad dates. With each anniversary there is the opportunity to not only acknowledge the event, but also to remember that life has continued to move forward – and in doing so, hopefully has taken us with it. There is no purging of these dates in one’s mind. They may become less pressing over time (in that they are remembered with less angst), but they are still remembered.
Today is the one year anniversary of the Galleria fire – a five alarm fire that resulted in the complete ruin of a Fargo apartment complex and the displacement of 150 tenants. My two sons and their roommate Alex shared an apartment at the Galleria – #316. Their apartment was in the middle of the building – they lost everything…to include their pets. It was a dark day for our family.
Photo by Michael Vosburg, The Forum
I wrote a number of blogs in regard to the fire – it was the sole topic of discussion in my blog for about a week beginning with the October 12, 2010 post - What the fire took… . I stood across the street from the complex with the boys staring in shock at the building’s consumption by a fire unlike any other I had seen in my time in Fargo. It was sad and horrifying and the memory replays vividly in my mind’s eye.
But that event, while tragic, also brought other things into our lives. We saw the best in our community and met some phenomenal people who were willing to give whatever they could to help the Galleria residents. Beyond the fire and the loss, the gain – the experience of being embraced and lifted up by the Fargo-Moorhead community – was probably one of the most valuable life experiences we could have asked for. They say that happens sometimes in tragedy – there is an unexpected positive outcome.
So we remember October 11th with both sorrow and gratitude. A year later the boys are doing well and the fire doesn’t come up in every conversation anymore. Time has passed and some of the feelings of overwhelming loss have dissipated; life has gone on. Yet our hearts, and I surmise the hearts of many of the Galleria residents and their families, remember on this anniversary the support that the community showed the Galleria residents at a time when they needed it most. Thank you again Fargo-Moorhead community for carrying the Galleria residents through that experience – your kindness will never be forgotten.
Day eight hundred and twenty-seven of the new forty – obla di obla da