This is my first article and I am not the best writer. So here it goes.
It's been three years today. Wow this isn't easy to type at all. Three years since that night. Three years since that call. Three years since that horrific vision. Three years since that devastating news. Three years since we lost our house and you both, Toby and Oscar.
It was November 14, 2014. And the Cleveland High School Wildcats were in the second round of playoffs in Oxford, MS against the Lafayette High School Commodores. The previous year before Lafayette had beat us in the North Half, and my dad and his team were looking for revenge. My good friends Ashley and Will had rode with me to the game jamming out to all the lastest 2014 hits, while my mom rode with her bestie Tracy. During the game I had sat with friends in the VERY COLD weather that night but were still cheering our team on. During the fourth quarter I had noticed my grandmother Nannu walking back and forth on the phone, curious of what she was doing, but shrugged it off. Not later after that I had started getting phone calls and ignored them at first, but then answered one from a neighbor. The next few words that were spoken thru the phone changed my life forever: "Kasey, your house is on fire." I hung up the phone and started to panic, my friends not knowing whats going on. I ran to my mother and as soon as I did I already knew she had known. The VERY first thing that came out of my mouth while shedding non-stop tears were, "Are the dogs and my kitten okay?!?". She did not know the answer, and she was as worried as I am. I started to cause a scene and that is when two of my former teachers took me to the side of the bleachers to calm me down, then trailing Ashley and Will, just recently finding out what happened. They had pulled me to the side so I wouldn't distract the team, my brother or my dad. I stood there wanting to fall down to my knees crying to them, saying all I wanted was for my pets to be okay. A few minutes later I had gotten the devastating news that my dogs had passed away due to the smoke, but my kitten had made it. I cried like I never had before, shoot im crying right now. My mother then hugged me and cried and cried and that's around the time when our team won the game. Right after the game Coach Canoy told my dad the news and my dad fell to his knees crying and then came looking for us. As we approached our dad my brother came running and asked whats wrong, and he then found out the news then and we all came together and cried in the middle of that field. Everyone around had realized what had happened or had heard what happened, and I know that was a devastating sight to see us weep like we never have before.Right after I had called my best friend at the time and she was the first to know other than the people who were there. Mrs. Tracy had taken Will and Ashley in her car and my whole family got into our car. Let me tell you that was the longest, saddest ride we have ever been on. Questioning. Wondering. Why? Why us? Why our dogs? Why did this happen? So many things going through our heads. When we pulled up to the sight, the aftermath of it was horrendous. There were so many people from the community, even friends parked all down our streets waiting to see us and comfort us. We walked into the parts where there wasn't that much damage and wow, it just made it even worse seeing everything like that. We got to take out a few things from our rooms that were somewhat salvageable, but the rest stayed in their until that next day. I had gotten so many text, facebook, instagram, and snapchat messages of friends and familys saying they were praying for us and that they were so sorry. My kitten was taken to my friend AB's house to stay for the weekend till we somewhat got back to normal. That night we stayed at my grandmothers down the street, and we all stayed up late, and all I wanted to do was cry, and sleep with my dad like we used to when I was younger, and I did that night, and when he came to bed, he just cried and I cried with him, as did my mom and brother in the other room.
THE DAYS AFTER
That next day we had football players, students, family members, and the community at our burnt house taking things out and throwing away things that were no use and other things that we could keep or salvage. We walked got to walk through the house and here are some images from the fire.
In the second to last picture, on the wall to the right is where it all started, by an old cotton wire, which was a faulty light switch, and burst into flames instantly. And the last picture is where the den was, right next to the kitchen, where the dogs were. This next picture brings me peace because it shows that Jesus was there for us and that its a sign saying that we will be okay as long as we believe in him and follow his way.
Next to this which is not pictured was my parents Wedding Picture, which was also not burned. My brother always would like to sleep in the den and he actually slept there the night before with my dogs, and here is a picture I took of them that night.
The next few days we got so many donations, from family, classmates, teammates, sororities, DSU, and the community. The Edwards housed us in their condo by The Warehouse for free for about a month and always made sure we were taken care of, and we could not thank them enough. The McGarrh's built us a nice wooden coffin/box for our dogs and we thank them as well. We thank everyone. Who donated, who took care of us,who were there for us, we thank you.
I got Toby back in 2005 for my birthday which my dad surprised me with hiding him in his shirt, me thinking it was just his belly lol. (wish I could find the picture). But here's me sleeping with him on the couch after my birthday party.
Throughout his years he became my best friend (and dads). I started to call him Nomie (don't ask me why cause idk either) If you asked any member of my family they would say he was the best dog ever, which he was and still is to us. He thought he was so tough haha. Would bark at nothing or other dogs like he was gonna do something knowing he wasn't. There is a song by Feist called 1234 and we played that song one time while dad Kody and I had our usual jam out nights on limewire. (yes the OG) Anyways while the song would go "Woahhhhohhhhohhh" Toby would start to howl. So that became his song, and he would howl everytime. I miss him so much and I want him to know that I love him. Here's a few pictures of him.
A few years later Toby and my grandmothers dog Maggie had babies, and that's when Kody chose his dog, Oscar.
He was a spunky little thing. He was moms and Kody's little man. He was a mini version of his daddy but he had the ABSOLUTE worst breath. He was so fast and him and Toby were both our "dummies". Kody had this race track thing that makes cars go around and around in a circle non stop and they would chase that thing and run in circles it was so funny! Here are some pictures of him and I love and miss him so much.
When we buried them, it was the saddest thing. Im sure the neighbors were wondering what was all of the loud crying from all of us. We buried them in the backyard of my grandmothers house. My dad had wrapped them both in their favorite blankets and let me carry Toby and Kody carry Oscar. At that moment I cried so hard and didn't want him gone. He was so much heavier than usual and I didn't want to let him go. I wanted him to be alive, him and Oscar to stay with us. Wow the tears are really coming down right now. We put them in the wooden box and drilled it shut and wrote their names on their and private messages to them, then before we buried them we each said something we loved about them and how much they meant to us and that we were so sorry that this happened to them and that they will always be with us, then we buried them in the ground with each of us having a shovel. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. My kitten had later passed away the day before Christmas Eve with a Nerve Disorder, which wasn't easy on me either. I loved Duma so much.
To this day it is just as hard to cope. Thinking and imagining what they were thinking when that fire started how scared they were, me thinking I could've done something that could of prevented it, I didn't even say anything to them that day. I wish I could've told them I loved them just one more time, hugged them one more time, gotten one more "booty kiss" from them. But I shouldn't think of those things I should cherish the times and remember the times I had with them. To this day I will be driving and just cry and have to stop somewhere to let it all out. I now worry all the time about my family not texting me right back and the me wonder did something happen to them. When I leave the house it makes me scared that something might happen to the house again, I kiss my cat Kenyo and hug my dog Pip so many times before I leave and tell them I love them just incase something happens to them. It sucks to now be like this but this is the aftermath of losing your pets and house to a fire. It won't be the same, but one day I hope I won't think as much like that. My family and I are so thankful for everyone that helped, donated, or that was there for us during the hard time. To the churches, the community, the football players who raised money, to all the families, my family, my boyfriend, to my friends, classmates. I cannot still thank you enough. Even if we don't talk, don't talk as much, or we still do I am still thankful for every single one of you. All of us are. And we are thankful for you God. For giving us a bright future and providing us with love.With leading us to Kenyo and Pip. They are so loved. To leading me to KJ, without him messaging me sending his prayers, we wouldn't be where we are to this day. To everything God, my family is now stronger than ever.
To Toby and Oscar, we love you both so much, and we will see you both again one day.
I hope I did well on this.