It wasn’t what I’d call a typical night. My stepdad was out of town for a work trip. Now it was just my mom, my sister Maddy and me at home, and we were not about to waste a moment of it. We three loved to spend time together, so we decided to have a slumber party. My parents had a California King bed, so my sister and I jumped in bed with our mom, which is something we hadn’t done in quite a long time. Maddy and I were in high school, so a mother/daughter sleepover wasn’t a typical occurrence, and it was bound to be a great time.
Enjoying our time together, we made sure that one of us set the alarm for the following school morning, and we chatted until we fell asleep.
Sleep consumed us. It had been a busy week at school, and I was particularly exhausted. With my favorite people beside me, I fell into a deep slumber.
Gas Leak in the Night
Before I knew it, I awoke to Mom standing over us yelling, “Maddy, Josie, get outside! There’s a gas leak in the house. Hurry!”
As my sister led me down the stairs and out the front door, we watched fire erupt from the fireplace and reflect off the parallel wall of the living room. As we walked outside, the coolness of the night hit my face, and I asked, “What, what is happening?”
I clutched the door to my mother’s car parked in the driveway and told Maddy, “I… I think I’m going to faint. Don’t let go of me.”
“You’ll be fine; just hold onto the car. I’m going in to check on Mom!” she yelled as she let go of my hand and ran back inside.
I could no longer support the weight of my own body. In contrast to the cool night air, the gaseous state of our home’s interior ensnared me.
As the carbon monoxide took over, I fell like a freshly chopped tree in the wilderness, my body colliding with the concrete driveway.
Moments later, light reentered my eyes, and I felt unbearable pain. My brain was throbbing in my skull, and tears stung my eyes and raced down my face.
It didn’t take long for my sister to find me, crying and holding my head as I sat defeated. My mom was not far behind her, and they soon were both by my side. We were all dazed and confused, but we were alive. With gas leaking out of the fireplace, it had somehow caught fire. My mom called a family friend and neighbor because she believed he would respond quicker than any firefighter since we lived 15 minutes from town.
When he arrived, he immediately shut off the gas to our house and toured the affected area. All that was left of the gas fireplace structure was melted plastic, where the fake logs used to be. But to our surprise, the damage was limited to the fireplace area, leaving the rest of the house seemingly untouched.
Larry invited us to his family’s home, and we packed an overnight bag. It wasn’t the sleepover we had imagined, but at least we were together, safe and sound.
The following day we returned home. And after a visit to the doctor, we learned of that night’s effect on my body. I had a concussion and would be reeling with the effects in the following weeks. My head continued to be sore, but that pain ultimately reminded me how lucky and blessed we were.
My mom has always had a very keen intuition, and that night it kicked in and became our saving grace. Without my mom’s instincts pulling her downstairs, we easily could have slipped into blackness, never to wake again.
We never fixed our fireplace. Instead, we have placed a string of cream-colored Christmas lights in place of where the flames once were.
I’ll never know why that incident happened or why we ultimately survived. But I do know that now, as I sit staring at the place where our fire used to flicker, I can’t help but think God had something to do with it.
The melted, absent fireplace will always remind me of what could have been. It is essential to trust your instincts and the pullings of your heart. Because it just might be the voice of God.
If you liked this, you might also like The Long Hard Night
Josephine Baird writes from the Pacific Northwest.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.