Walking Softly Onto The Page…

I am walking softly onto the page. It is the anniversary of my fire and the PTSD is wicked bad. I just need a friend tonight.

I am not exactly lonely, I am a little afraid, I am wistful, I am needing to just sit with you and hold your hand. Can you sit with me a moment?

Yesterday it was three years since the fire and my life has never been the same. The bottom fell out of my life that terrible night and in the aftermath and I realize that I have never trusted life again since. Until that night my life had forward thrust, there was movement, I was planning a future, building a business, doing regular podcasts, mentoring people, so many things that I loved, and the fire swept it all away, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I had a house that I loved with all my heart. It was the first and only house I had ever bought on my own and I was so proud of it. It was a darling little place. In the eight months after the fire they did demolition and took the whole thing down but the shell. It is, for all intents and purposes, a new house, and I appreciate that the insurance company rebuilt it but the house that I loved is gone and I can’t get it back. It has broken my heart.

I realize that I am in this space, thinking about all of this, because your claim is open for 3 years. For three years anything you realize is missing since the fire you can put a claim in for, you continue to deal with the insurance company for 3 years and then they close the books on the claim. That was yesterday for me. House rebuilt, claim closed, subject moves on. But I haven’t moved on. I haven’t because the time just prior to the fire was a very particular moment in time. I had put my heart and soul into redoing the house just the way I wanted it. The kitchen was like a little doll house kitchen, it was adorable. And I put my money into training and working with good teachers and mentors and guides to build a business. And it opened the first of January 2014. It was a good investment. The business was doing well out of the gate, and because I work from home all of my business equipment, files, paperwork, designs, sketchbooks, and more were all set up here in my studio, and I was so proud of the work I was doing, but one month later, the night of the fire, I lost it all, and for 8 months I lived in a tiny house the other side of town. I lost my 4 parrots in the fire and praise God made it out with my 4 dogs, but it was disorienting and heartbreaking and all the work I was doing came to a dead halt. I tried to pick up the pieces afterward but in the alternate location and without all of my equipment I was not able to, and everything slipped away and everything I had invested in my future was gone, my future, as I had planned it, was gone.

I have said this before. I have said this too many times, but on the anniversary of the fire it comes back again, the waves of PTSD are like rough surf that can knock you down if you get too close to them. And this lovely rebuilt house has never felt like mine, and there was no money to begin again, and the future disappeared.

Now of course I must needs go on, but every attempt is filled with anxiety and fear. I do not have the resources to begin again in any practical sense so I am trying to carve out a life from where I am with what I have. I have been drawing and painting and writing the stories of the 100 Ladies but I have come into a hard time with them. When you try to press a creative venture into service, into a business, it can pull up anchor and sail away. In the past couple of weeks the Ladies have fallen silent. The stories have stopped coming. And while I have kept drawing the ladies are fewer and fewer in my sketchbook. Last time I wrote here I wrote that I should make my art and write my story and it seemed as though I may just be able to do that, but then I had a tragedy in the family, my darling pug Laverne had a stroke and at the vet she went to sleep in my arms with me singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow to her. I sobbed uncontrollably. My heart was truly broken. And I came home and the ladies stood still. Time stood still. Once again the world tilted off it’s axis. And then the 3 year anniversary. And now I have fallen as silent as my ladies.

I don’t know where to begin again. I don’t know what to do. And I’m tired of writing about being so afraid, about the fire, about loss, too many terrible losses in too many directions still echoing like the reverberations in an echo chamber. I want to find my way but I am so heartbroken I just can’t seem to find it. I struggle with bipolar disorder, with depression, and on the best of days I am even, but most days are a struggle. I can’t just go out and get a job, that would be wonderful. Going through a day, one hour at a time, is the truth of my reality and it is a struggle. There are terrible things happening in the world and I want to help but when even getting up in the morning can be filled with terror doing the things that one might like to do to be of service are short of impossible. I pray. I write what I can to support the effort. I cry out against injustice. I pull the blinds and I hide. This is not helpful, it is the truth of my reality. I am sorry. You don’t want to hear this. Trust me, I don’t want to write it.

So why do I write it? I write it in the hopes that one day it will run clear and I will find my way.

I write it because I have been told by countless people that they are lost and afraid too and it helps them not to feel so all alone.

I write because I know that somehow I will make it, I will not be another suicide. 5 years ago we had a suicide in our family. I know what that does to a family. I will not do that to mine. But I am here to tell you that being so afraid all the time just goddamned wears a body out. I am so afraid. Jesus God I am so afraid. And I am just so tired of being afraid.

There was just a siren screaming out in the night and it scared me to death, it took my breath away. You never get over that sound after a night of too many sirens, of men yelling back and forth to one another with hoses going, of EMT’s trying to give you oxygen and a kind policeman pushing you gently into the back of his car because you keep screaming and trying to run to the house. My birds were dying in there. I had to save them, but I couldn’t. Windows exploding out of the house, black smoke, neighbors and fire engines and tv cameras lining the street and screaming and sobbing and people crowding around. 3 years ago my life stopped. I am waiting for it to start again.


Make this the year your resolutions come true!

Make this the year your resolutions come true!


  1. Oh, this is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry this happened to you.

  2. Your ladies have spilled onto pages, each one with her own personality, her fears, her needs, her aches, her joys. They’ve taken holidays before, and it’s OK if they take one now. They have a very particular style, recognizably and wonderfully yours. Each is unique, yet each bears enough of your marks that we can be assured we are entering their world and not some other. So what now? Probably a break, a rest, permission to do whatever calls to you, even if that means time in the doldrums. Your writing is so honest it heals broken hearts, who see in it the reflection of their own heartbreaks. Your life has been sidetracked by the horrors of the fire, but if you could be an outsider looking back on the past three years, you would be awed by all you have accomplished.

    • I agree with Cathryn. It’s okay, in my book, to review the source of your sorrow. Every single person deals with it in very unique ways. You never have to feel that we are “fed up” with you telling us about anything in your life. Please don’t. We love you and your writing. Love, in Christ.

      • Thank you so much Marge. And I appreciate so much what you had to say. I cringed as I published this thinking people would think, “Oh there she goes again, talking about the fire…” I can’t believe it has been 3 years. That sounds like a long time but it feels like yesterday and I am not nearly healed. I would have thought it wouldn’t have taken so long… And I appreciate your love and your prayers. That means more than anything. Bless you dearheart…


    • Oh dear Cathryn…

      Thank you so much, my friend, for your kind words. Just now I feel so small, so tired, I cannot see past this moment, I cannot even see over the past 3 years at what I may have accomplished. I am, out of necessity, living in the present moment, hanging onto it for dear life. Your words are a healing balm and give me hope, and perhaps even a little faith in myself and I can’t thank you enough for that. I wish I could just hug you. Thank you so so much. I love you dear Cathryn, truly…


      • Ah, sweet Maitri, I read your writing and think, “Maybe in my next life I will write that well.” I re-read Pastiche, look at your Ladies, think of your puggly friends and see a life well lived.

        • Oh Cathryn, thank you so much honey, you don’t know how happy you have made me, to read those words. I seem to have no sense of my life. I live each moment and try to hold on and do the best I can and then three years have gone by and I seem to have no sense of anything I’ve done. When I read your words I thought, startled, Oh! Pastiche! I did that, too… I really just have no sense of these years since the fire. I just put my head down and kept moving forward. So thank you for this, thank you so much. And that you enjoyed Pastiche means the world to me. If I could have kept doing just that I would have but I need the income and it just wasn’t coming. You have lifted me up so much Cathryn, thank you honey…



  3. Paula Brown says:

    Precious sister. I wish I could run over and give you a giant hug. I have no words. Whatever I could say seems so trivial. But I know that once again you can and you will rise up. You have given us so much and we can give you so little. Know that we are with you in spirit and wish with all our hearts that you are healed. Look for the light. Know you are not alone

    • Thank you so much dear Paula, I know that you are with me in spirit and I feel your hug. It is appreciated more than I can say. And you do give me so much love and support and I can’t thank you enough. And it helps a lot not to feel so alone. Thank you for being there.

      Best, Blessings and Love…


  4. I can only imagine the heartbreak of losing your beloved parrots, and your magical house. Sending love and hugs from Australia.
    Your artwork and gifted words are both healing and inspiring take your time and treat yourself in the gentle way that you treat others.

    • Thank you so much Wendy, you are very kind. And yes, it is truly heartbreaking. And thank you for the lovely things you said about my art and writing, that is truly a gift at a time that I feel so stuck. I hope that I treat others gently, I do try. And I send my love and a gentle hug to you dear one. Thank you for reading and for taking time to comment. It means more than you could possibly know.

      Blessings and love,


  5. Dear Maitri,
    Cathryn said it so beautifully, and I wholeheartedly agree. I know these drifting, grieving and flash back times are very hard. I pray you will have the strength and feel the support here to hold on to the drift wood until the current carries you to a lighter place again.
    Sending you a big hug,
    Joan xo

    • Dear dear Joan… thank you so much honey. And what a lovely description, driftwood to hold onto. Something to hold onto as I float downstream toward what will come next, something that I cannot imagine. Thank you for that, and thank you dearest for the lovely hug, I send one back to you.

      Blessings and Love, so much love…


  6. As cycles and seasons and calendars pass, things will be reborn and wither away. Take gentle care of yourself and the pugs.

    • Thank you so much sweet Valerie, I shall surely do my best to take care of my babies and each day as it comes. So much has and is withering away. I am anxious to see new things reborn. It is time, it is surely time…

      Sending you love and a gentle warm hug. Sweet blessings to you…


  7. here the waves roll in
    mother sea is eternal
    each day world reborn

    (from st. george island)

    each day indeed WE are reborn. The phoenix rising. The flowers opening.
    The ladies returning to you. The wisdom of the pen soothing you. A perfect cappuccino
    elating you. a darling pug nestling close to you. friends supporting you. tears falling and cleansing you.

    a beautiful woman embracing herself. YOU, reborn


    • Thank you so much sweet Ka, this was truly beautiful to read. May the Phoenix rise and the flowers open and the Ladies return, if it was meant that they should, and a perfect cappuccino, yes… And the pugs are always near and dear — we just shared an English muffin! — and yes, lovely friends as tears fall. Yes. Yes, yes, yes, echoing Molly Bloom.

      I love you dear Ka, my sweet sister…


  8. Lisa Wimpfheimer says:

    Dear Maitri,
    Sending you a hug of support as you deal with this horrible anniversary. You have been so strong, moving forward with the rebuilding and all the changes. And know you are taking care of yourself again and the puggies. It’s o.k. if “The Ladies”are silent for a while. Or if you have another idea coming along. I am with you in spirit, sister.

    • Thank you so much dear Lisa. I will take that hug and send you one in return. And I appreciate all that you had to say. I closed the sketchbook today and let the ladies alone to rest and have a breather. I think I need that too. Tonight my friend Noni is coming over to cook and that will be a good night. And I appreciate you being with me in spirit. That is lovely. Thanks, I needed that honey.

      Blessings and Love to you,


  9. Leesa Keith says:

    I am here for you my friend,
    I have been reading your blogs for some time now and feel a kindred spirit in you. I am an artist, and have recently moved to North Carolina to start anew after divorce.
    Life is hard but we as woman power through, and have faith that all will get better…one day at a time!
    Much love Maitri,

    • Dear Leesa,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope this is a time of rebirth and renewal for you. I have been through a divorce and I know how hard it is in the best of times. I will hold you in my thoughts and heart and I wish the very best for you. Yes, most assuredly, one day at a time.

      May you be blessed. Sending a gentle hug, and love…


  10. You are being too hard on yourself Maitri. Perhaps it is time for quiet. A time not to set goals or put more pressure on yourself. Sometimes life happens when you stop forcing it. I send you loving support. Offer you friendship, on your terms, as you need. I can feel your pain and wish I could do more. You are a very special lady. Be gentle to yourself.

    • Thank you so much Kate, you are very kind. I have indeed been pushing really hard out of fear. I think I need to take a deep breath and relax a little. I really appreciate your kind note and gentle words. They are a healing balm and much appreciated.

      Blessings to you dear one…


  11. i can’t begin to imagine … holding you in my thoughts and wishing you hugs xx Mixy xx

    • Thank you so much Mixy. Your kind words mean more than you could possibly know. Bless you, and thank you for coming by to read my blog.



  12. Barbara Bischof says:

    Dearest Maitri,
    I no longer have access to the internet at home, and getting into town and to the library occur rarely, I happened to be at a laundromat that has open wifi! I have just read your piece and am sitting with tears rolling down my cheeks. I agree with Cathryn and Paula, you have shared and given us so much. Be gentle with yourself. I’m writing you a letter ~ snail mail style!
    Hugs and smooches to the furry loves, a bear hug to you. You’re in my thoughts and heart.

    • Oh dear Barb, it is so good to “hear your voice.” I’ve missed you. I hope you are well. I appreciate your kind words so much, and will look so forward to a real letter! I’m sending you hugs and love as well. You, too, are in my thoughts and heart…


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