I am drawn—magnetically pulled—back to my pile of debris, which not that long ago was my beautiful home. As if by staring at the rubble long enough, somehow I believe my home could miraculously reassemble like a film seen in reverse. The toppled chimneys would rise upright again to their rightful places on top of the roofline, and the fire would return to where it came from.

Each time I survey the ruins, I notice something new. For the first time, I observed that only the skeleton of the refrigerator stands upright, and I can see the rectangular opening where the ice maker once froze water.

I am strangely reminded of “Schindler’s List,” shot in black and white. As I look at the mound of destruction, I see no color—just black and brown. And then, out of the depths I see for the first time the damaged ceramic tabletop that adorned my parents’ home for much of their lives. Just like the girl in “Schindler’s List” who introduced color where none had existed, so this multi-colored object reaches out to me as if asking to escape its burial place—help I cannot provide.

Dad told me that each color of this custom-made piece meant a separate treatment in the kiln, and there were 17 visits to the kiln. There is something so ironic that this piece created in fire ultimately succumbed to fire.

I have mixed feelings about the upcoming removal of debris. Of course, I understand that only by taking the rubble away can I start the rebuilding process, but I also feel that I am desecrating a burial site. With the removal will come the final recognition that what was will never be again.

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