It was a spring Sunday afternoon, and I had taken my 4-year-old son to the park while my other boys were inside at a 4-H meeting. We had just come in to warm up when my mother-in-law said, “I’m supposed to tell you, something’s on fire at your house.”

My brain scrambled for answers. I unplugged the curling iron, shut off the stove and stopped the dryer. My fingers unconsciously texted my husband, Michael, “What’s going on?” His response: “It’s the farrowing house.”

The farrowing house, a place of safety for new life, where seven mamma pigs, their babies, and our recently weaned piglets were housed had become a trap. We have a small show pig operation with Michael’s brother and I knew this time of year the farrowing house was nearly full.

Something's On Fire

 

Yes, the house we live in was safe. However, our baby pigs that I had helped deliver and had recently named were still inside the farrowing house. 

The ten mile trip home took hours. I saw smoke and flames from a mile away. Seven sows and nearly 100 piglets died of smoke inhalation. I walked away and sobbed.

It was more than the money lost and the animals that died. It was a host of memories that turned to ashes in those flames. It was a New Year’s Eve that we spent as a family watching a new mamma pig all night long. It was my nightly date with my husband to stoke the wood burning stoves that kept the temperature just right. It was watching cousins take turns putting on plastic gloves to catch the next baby to be born. It was dragging my sleepy body to teach school the morning after I had been up all night helping deliver piglets. 

And yet, in this whole disaster, the blessings were unbelievable. Only an hour before the fire, Michael and our four boys were splitting wood just outside the farrowing house. If the fire had started then, what would have happened? The cause was ruled electrical, and the small office where the breaker box is located serves as the hub of many daily activities. Rarely is that building or that room unoccupied by one or more of the humans I love.

The support was amazing and unexpected. Four high school boys I teach are members of the volunteer fire cadet program. They hauled hoses, sprayed water, and checked in with me frequently. The next day, a random squeeze on my shoulder proved that even if they didn’t care who Shakespeare was or what grammar rule was being taught, they still did care about the teacher. Facebook messages, neighbors volunteering to help, and even a pan of brownies reminded me of the benefits of living in rural Nebraska.

Just a month after the fire, the building has been rebuilt. Hours of cleaning and tearing down, climbing on the roof and hammering, installing new wiring and water lines have led to a fresh start. Currently five sows and their new litters of piglets are in the farrowing house, and life has resumed as normal.

Well, almost normal. I cringe when I smell smoke. I watch our piglets that were in the other building grow and wonder about the ones that died. But most importantly, I am thankful. I’m thankful for kind words and helping neighbors, for God’s perfect timing and guardian angels, and for the chance to add new memories to the old.

Something's On Fire www.herviewfromhome.com

 

 

[adrotate banner=”105″]

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Kristi Bose

Kristi Bose teaches English and drama at Southern Valley High School in South Central Nebraska. She and her husband Michael have four boys ages four to fifteen. They live in the country where they raise show pigs, a small cattle herd, and a few goats. She enjoys fishing in the river behind their house, reading, traveling and spending time with her family.

God Redeemed the Broken Parts of My Infertility Story

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Two young children walking on a path near a pond, color photo

It was a Wednesday morning when I sat around a table with a group of mamas I had just recently met. My youngest daughter slept her morning nap in a carrier across my chest. Those of us in the group who held floppy babies swayed back and forth. The others had children in childcare or enrolled in preschool down the road. We were there to chat, learn, grow, and laugh. We were all mamas. But we were not all the same. I didn’t know one of the mom’s names, but I knew I wanted to get to know her because she...

Keep Reading

Growing Slowly around the Grief of Losing Your Mom

In: Grief, Loss
Sad woman sitting on couch with folded arms

Everyone has heard about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Society often assumes the stages of grief happen in order, but those who encounter grief know that’s not true. Undergoing grief can feel like riding a rollercoaster blindfolded—disorienting and chaotic. There are numerous ups, downs, and twists you wouldn’t anticipate. Grief is like an ocean. When waves come crashing, it feels like you’re being swept away. Regardless of their size, waves are always rough. Despite everything, you also get pushed forward to the shore after every wave. Sometimes, you may feel like you are drowning...

Keep Reading

The Shattering Grief of Suicide

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Sad person sitting in darkened hallway, black and white image

Navigating through my second Christmas without my dad, the weight of grief seemed even heavier this year. In fact, everything felt and looked different to me. As I unwrapped the ornaments and cards he gave me over the years, a tidal wave of madness and sadness engulfed me. I know many feel sadness and grieve during these times, but let me just say . . . suicide is a different type of grief. My vibrant, happy, physically fit dad committed suicide on April 30th, 2022. There, I said it. In the aftermath, a myriad of emotions consumed me. One perplexing...

Keep Reading

Dear Dad, Maybe You’re the Bird

In: Grief, Loss
Young girl sitting on father's lap, older color photo

Maybe you’re the bird. The one I see outside my door. The one who flies so low it seems you’re somehow weighted down. Like you’re carrying more than just yourself. Like you’re carrying a message. Just for me. Maybe you’re the rain. The sound I hear that reminds me so much of home. Of you. Of driving in your car as a little girl when you looked over and asked my opinion about everything. When you made someone so small feel so very big. RELATED: Dad Left a Legacy in Fried Green Tomatoes Maybe you’re the butterfly. The one I...

Keep Reading

I Hope You Never Know What it’s Like to Forget Who You Are

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Woman staring at camera, black-and-white photo

I write best when I’m passionate. It’s always been my release. But lately, I’ve struggled to write. I’ve struggled to find purpose in my words. It’s all been twisted and choppy, not a bit poetic or beautiful. These feelings are what the struggles of loss, parenting, work, and marriage push against. It’s finding yourself over and over again and trying to make sense of the senseless. It leaves you questioning most things and leaves you feeling broken with no idea how to put yourself or others back together. I hope you never know. I hope you never know what it’s...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Know How to Live Without My Sister, But I Must

In: Grief
Sisters smiling in posed color photo

I’ve spent a year of my life living in a haze. Holding my breath, afraid to exhale. Focusing on staying in this frozen moment where there is no reality. I pressed the pause button. Pumped the brakes. I’ll stay right here and wait for my life, life as I knew it, life as I loved it, to come back around. Where there is no future to mourn, thinking about the way it should have been and no torturous past to remember, recalling the horror of that day. The special occasions that will come are now outlined in sadness. Wait, she’s...

Keep Reading

6 Ways to Be a Friend to Someone Grieving

In: Friendship, Grief, Loss
Friends hugging

Grief can truly be such a lonely experience after you lose a loved one. The loneliness isn’t necessarily because you don’t have anyone around you. It’s because only you had your relationship with the person who died, and it’s hard to find anyone to replace that. I have first-hand experience. My mom died recently and unexpectedly at the age of 62 and I at the age of 34, and it single-handedly has been one of the most painful experiences of my life. However, having support from family and friends will help you navigate this difficult time. Without it, the loneliness...

Keep Reading

These Final Gifts from My Mom Are Hard to Let Go

In: Grief, Loss
Little girls boots with worn toes, color photo

My daughter wobbled toward me in silver, square-toed go-go boots, one heel dislodged and flopping against our hallway’s faux wood floor. On her opposite foot, a striped sock peaked curiously through the growing toe hole. “Mama,” she said. Her tiny voice raised another octave, “My shoe!” I sighed, then sat on the floor. Waves of grief washed over me as I contemplated what kind of glue might capably reconstruct the shoe’s sole. Elmer’s glue? Textile glue? Maybe Krazy Glue? I knew the boots should just go into the bin. And yet, they—along with a vibrant, overbearing cat dress that would...

Keep Reading

A Daughter Is Never Ready To Let Her Dad Go

In: Grief, Loss
Grown daughter hugging older man

I wasn’t ready to let you go. When I was a little girl, one of my greatest fears was that something would happen to my parents. If they had to go somewhere, I would nervously follow their route in my mind, mentally noting where they probably were and when they should be back home. If they hadn’t returned by the time I thought they should, my imagination would get the best of me as I pictured a thousand things that could have happened. But the day I sat having a late breakfast at my kitchen table and saw an ambulance...

Keep Reading

Memories of Mom Are Everywhere

In: Grief, Motherhood
Family campsite with bikes, tents, and totes, color photo

Two weeks after my daughter was born, my dad drove from Pennsylvania to our home in Florida to stay with me for the week. I was nursing my daughter on the couch when my dad drug in four humongous plastic storage bins and staged them next to the Pack ‘N Play in the living room. The bins were full of my baby clothes, baby shower cards, a silver spoon, plastic and probably lead-infused rattles, and two cellophane balloons neatly folded. A time capsule of my babyhood. I thought of my mom’s hands being the last to touch these items. Had...

Keep Reading