This holiday is going to be an adjustment for Sarah and Larry Brizius, but they still count their blessings.
Larry was diagnosed with terminal cancer in April and in October the couple lost their home on McDowell Street to a fire. That blaze began with a spark and Larry’s oxygen tank the morning of Oct. 19. Within minutes, the house was engulfed.
“It’s amazing not only how quickly your entire life can disappear but how little of it you find that you need,” Sarah said this week. “I have Larry, my dog; and we have family, friends, strangers and God.”
The Augusta couple said the thoughtfulness of both friends and strangers has been remarkable.
While the fire consumed their home, neighbors gathered together to offer drinks, chairs, robes to cover their night clothes, dog food and snacks.
A stranger who had just moved to the neighborhood invited the couple to live with him.
Delta Air Lines, where their son is employed, gave them clothes.
Another surprise was when one of Larry’s old classmates at Butler High School started a contribution fund.
“People were so generous that we were running out of room (in our hotel room),” Sarah said.
The couple relocated to a duplex off Old Petersburg Road furnished by strangers.
Normally at this time of year, the home on McDowell Street would be a “Christmas wonderland,” but all of their traditions burned – including the presents already bought for children and grandchildren.
Despite it all, they say they know the fire brought many positives.
In their new location, the couple has a nurse and friend across the street whom they can call on for help at all hours of the night, whereas before help was across town.
The fire has also brought their family closer together.
“I don’t see any negatives that came out of this. Only positives,” Sarah said. “It’s amazing that I can have a terminally ill husband, lost everything in a fire and still look people in the eye and say we are blessed.”