How My Life Changed Overnight

Hurry!!!” the shout woke me up.

I shook my head and decided I must be dreaming and started to close my eyes again when the shouting became louder…intense, I can feel the emergency. “Oh no, we must be late for school!” That’s what I thought.

Sitting up, I rub my eyes and peeked outside my window. It was still dark outside. What is going on?

My jaws dropped as I stepped outside my room.

The front door was wide opened…showing an empty deserted graveled street outside still engulfed with darkness. The back door was also wide opened.

Something wasn’t right and my heart pounded.

Go grab Mama’s beauty case!!!” My father’s voice came out of nowhere pulled me back into reality although I still couldn’t comprehend what in the world was going on, his voice…the urgency in every words. I jumped and sprung into my parents room which was right in front of mine. Without even thinking or wondering, I grabbed that small box where my mother kept all her jewelries and went back to the living room.

Now go outside!!!” my father was standing at the other end of the house, right outside my brothers’ room.

But what’s going on, Papa?” I protested still unaware of what is unfolding.

GO!!!” He snapped and I walked sullenly outside.

My mother was outside across our front yard…screaming…crying…

Some of our neighbors had started to made a circle around my mother. My two brothers looked shock. I ran to my mother ignoring the sharp stones under my bare feet.

Mama, are you okay? What is going on?” I asked her. She ignored me and just looked straight at the roof of our house. As if hypnotized, I turned my gazed to where she was staring at.

Oh my God…

This must be a nightmare. This is not real!

But the heat from the burning roof slapped me hard. It’s not a nightmare…our house was on fire.

It was a blur…

Somebody had ushered me, my parents and my two younger brothers to one of the neighbor’s house. It was at safe distance.

My mother fainted and everyone were so busy. I sneaked outside.

The neighbor’s house was on a little small hill and their front porch faces our house. Our burning house. I saw the fire truck had came. They weren’t prepared to face how big the fire had spread. By now, the whole house was on fire.

I stood there, paralyzed with tears running down my face when I felt a hand on my shoulder. Turned around, I found my father. He pulled me to his arms and held me tight. Seeing the house that we’ve only lived for a few months burning down right in front of my very eyes taking with it everything that we had was something I could never forget.

It’s all gone…” His vpice cracked. My strong father sobbed while he held me tightly and my heart broke.

In my 13 years of living I had never seen my father shed a tear…ever! We stood there by the neighbor’s porch holding onto one another as our house burned down.

It was a blur of events but I never forget how empty I felt when the sun had shine and the fire was finally tamed. Our beautiful house, our once beautiful house was nothing but a piece of what it used to be. The fire had took everything. All the memories swallowed forever in its fury. We survived with just the clothes on our backs, my mother’s beauty case and my father’s old suitcase where he keep all of our important documents. None of us even remember to wear any sandal or shoes out. We were thankful that all of us managed to escape unharmed. I would’ve been trap inside my room should I never woken myself up from the scream.

Later we found out the fire came from my brothers room…a short circuit or something like that.

We really never know how our lives can unfold…I learned that back in 1992. Twenty two years ago. The only regret I have to this very day is loosing so many of our family’s pictures in that fire. Those are irreplaceable.

This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s writing prompt This one time I was sleeping and… Go over there to join the weekly fun or read plenty of great posts.


Mama’s Losin’ It




Lifestyle and travel blogger, founder of Single Moms Indonesia on a quest of finding joy in everyday life and living life to the fullest with kindness, compassion, grace and a bit of sass.

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  1. Saundra Rohn
    June 28, 2012 / 8:39 pm

    I learn so much about your life when you share that I didn’t know. you r a gifted written!!!
    Love you.

    • Maureen
      June 30, 2012 / 8:40 am

      Thank you Mom. Love you too 🙂

  2. Saundra Rohn
    June 28, 2012 / 8:41 pm

    “gifted writer” 😀

  3. Saundra Rohn
    June 28, 2012 / 8:41 pm

    “gifted writer” 😀

  4. June 28, 2012 / 11:05 pm

    Oh, how awful! Thankfully you all got out safe, but I know it can’t replace all you lost.

    I’m impressed that your father had documents accessible – I wouldn’t even know what to grab (after the kids). Something to think about…

    • Maureen
      June 30, 2012 / 8:42 am

      Thanks Jenn. My father followed what his own father taught him, to keep all important documents in one suitcase just in case of an emergency.

  5. June 29, 2012 / 6:22 pm

    Oh that is a terrible experience. And I agree, I think the photos would be my biggest loss. Too bad I’d need to save my whole computer to be able to save my photos since I never print anything. My mom always says that she would run back into her burning house to save photos of my sister (she passed away).
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    • Maureen
      June 30, 2012 / 8:45 am

      I do that too, I keep all my son’s pictures in an external hard drive. I think that’s what sadden me the most, loosing so much of our early childhood memories. All the pictures we have now are the ones that my grandparents or aunts and uncles have.

  6. June 29, 2012 / 9:50 pm

    What a terrifying story, Mo.

    I can’t even imagine living through it, having your memories.

    And you’re right about the pictures…WHAT A LOSS.

    • Maureen
      June 30, 2012 / 8:49 am

      Alexandra, actually there was one miracle there…other than the fact that we all survived unharmed. My room was one of the area that was burnt to the ground. On my bed side table there’s an old bible that I had since I was little. That old bible survived while the table got burned to the ground. Not one word was scraped out of that bible. Logically, that would be impossible but I saw the bible and now that bible is somewhere in a church museum here – courtesy of my late grandpa.

      Thank you! I only have a handful of childhood pictures that I got from my grandmas and relatives.

  7. July 2, 2012 / 6:09 am

    My mom once lived on a farm. I was 16 at that point and thinking I knew everything I was living in my own in the city. The farm burnt down when I was 18 and we lost everything. Thankfully I had 3 of our photo albums at my house but everything else was lost in the fire. To this day all my step father does is apologize over and over that he couldn’t save my baby booties so I can use them for my children.

    Now as a mother myself this is one of my greatest fears. Our old house we had important documents in a small drawer right by the front door. Now that I must admit I would never get to them as they are in the basement. I need to find a safe place near a door for them.
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