Buying a house is a daunting, complicated task. You go in and out of homes checking boxes off the criteria list. Does it have enough bedrooms and bathrooms? Does it have a driveway? What school district is it in? Does it need a new roof? The most important question is do you think this is the place you want to call home?
Earlier this year in January the husband and I set out to find a new home. We want to grow our family, we both work from home and need our own offices, and we wanted to have a cute little neighborhood that had it’s own playground so we no longer had to cross a major six lane road to get to one. We went in a lot of houses, but none of them could we say we wanted to be our home. Then finally, we got to the house that on paper we really thought was “it”. Normally those houses always end up being disappointing and the photos are better than the real thing. Not this house. This house checked off the most important boxes; bedrooms, bathrooms, a huge yard that backed up to woods. It even offered the bonus “tree house” tree, that the husband was so excited to build someday for our son.
What really solidified this would be the house for us was the moment I had while standing looking out the front door into the small cul de sac neighborhood. I saw only three doors down a small boy standing in the door looking at us, with his dad standing behind him. He looked to be about our sons age and that made me so excited. I pictured the boys outside with a basketball hoop, learning to play basketball together. Our two families sitting out on our lawns drinking some beers, enjoying the kids playing without leaving the vicinity of our home. It was exactly what I was looking for in a new neighborhood.
We were set to close on the house in February, with movers booked and all of our possessions boxed and ready to go. We had my mom flown in so she could watch the toddler while we attempted to work our jobs and move our household. A very long story short, our mortgage broker and our realtor didn’t do their jobs, and we didn’t ever close on the house. We unpacked everything back into the same house we had mentally checked out of. We were disappointed and frustrated, but both felt that maybe that wasn’t the house for us and everything happens for a reason.
Yesterday a small jet crashed into that cul de sac. That jet hit that house three doors down, the one with the small boy and his father standing in the door.
When I saw the news story pop up on Facebook, I instantly thought of a good friend who is a pilot that flies in and out of the nearby small plane airport. Any time there is a small plane crash I think of him and want to check and make sure its not. I clicked the link to the news story and read that the crash happened on the address block of the house we never moved into. I instantly sent the link to the husband and said THANK GOD we didn’t move in. He came running into my office and said he thought it was “our” house. We hopped on google maps and compared what images we had available to see which house it was. Once we figured out it was not that house, we felt horrible knowing it was the house with that family.
Initial reports claimed there was no one home, but I saw the minivan in the driveway. I prayed no one was home, that they were out anywhere but there. Later in the day I found out the little boy I saw in the door that day was in the house, along with his mother and newborn brother. They did not survive. The dad was at work, and their older daughter was at school.
I’ve spent the last day attempting to wrap my head around this tragic and completely freak accident. What are the odds of a plane crashing into a house? What are the odds that house is located so close where we were supposed to be living? I feel grateful, thankful and lucky that we were not in that position. Then my feelings shift to complete heartache and anguish for this family. What it must have felt like for that father to be at work and how he may have found out. Or that first phone call from a friend or family member checking in. Or how this man has had his family, his home, his life taken from him…and how the hell to hold it together to try and tell his little girl what has happened to her mom and brothers.
Lots of people believe everything happens for a reason, and I always have. While I can see how it is applicable to our situation, I’m having a hard time seeing how that works in regards to this family. Where does some greater good come from this? How could there ever being a reason that God/the universe/fate has brought such tragedy upon this family?
That image of the young boy and his father standing in the door will forever be ingrained in my memory. It was once for all the memories we wouldn’t have with this family because we lost that house, now replaced with the sadness of knowing that little boy will never play in that cul de sac.
A Go Fund Me page has been started for the family to pay for funeral expenses and anything else they may need. If you can, donate. If you can’t, just say a prayer for this man, his daughter and the friends and family that tragically lost their loved ones yesterday.
Marie Gemmell and her two boys