Almost 1 Month Later…

So we are a few days short of a month since we got the call that our house had been hit by lightning and had burned. Honestly I can’t believe it’s been almost a month, as I feel like I have been moving in slow motion since the 27th. But it’s true – moments to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to days, days to weeks, and sure enough weeks to months.

Since everyone has been so generous with their support I just wanted to take a moment to share how things are going.

Thank You

I have tried my best to send everyone who donated to the Chip-In fund, an email that summed up what your contributions have meant to us. If for some reason you haven’t gotten an email I’ll post the email here as well.

Thank You From The Graner Family

Pete and I normally don’t like form letters/mass emails, but so many have given that we are unable to write each of you personally at this moment (however you will get a personal note in the future). However, we didn’t want any more time to pass without letting you know how much we and our family appreciate you and your support through this difficult time in our lives. – Thank You!

Thank you so much for your donation. Your donation has helped us get through the weeks since the fire. Your donation has helped lift so many unexpected burdens from our shoulders. Thank You!

Our family is honored, humbled, and touched by your generosity in both spirit and deed. Your donation has helped to ease the sting of loss. – Thank You!

I am not sure how we would have gotten through the last few weeks or how we would look hopefully to the future without the support of our family and friends (of which you are part of) both locally and globally. – Thank You!

Please know just how much your donation has touched our hearts. We will be forever grateful to you for your act of kindness. – Thank You!

A brick will be placed in your honor in our “Pathway of Gratitude”. This pathway will be comprised mostly of the old brick from the house that burned. This way we will remember and think of you and your family each time we walk into and out of our new home. – Thank You!

with much gratitude,
Amber and Pete

Was there insurance?

Yep, the house was insured. Thank goodness and we believe all they needed from us has been satisfied allowing for demolition and construction to begin soon. The insurance will cover the physical structure, but it won’t replace all the items that were lost in the fire.

Where are you all staying now?

With my parents (thanks mom and dad), who have all but let us take over their house. There hasn’t been any furnished, month to month, apartments or houses for rent.  All the places here want a year lease and the new house should (if all things go as planned) be ready by Spring.  So hopefully we won’t drive my parents to0 crazy until then.  Who would have thought 21 years after I left home, I would be living back home with mom and dad again :-/.  Life is funny isn’t it.

How are you all doing? What are you all doing?

I couldn’t bring myself to blog about much of anything these past few weeks much less the status of our home. Staying focused on counting blessings and establishing a routine for our family has been the highest priority, with a close second being what to do next? Build? Rent? Move?

As you can see from the “Thank You From The Graner Family” above we are building back on the home site and creating the “Pathway of Gratitude” to honor everyone who has helped us through the shock of losing our home, as well as the grieving process that has followed. While I am often not sure what part of the process I am in from day to day, I do continue to count my blessings and keep moving forward. The kids and Pete are doing well. We have spent a lot of time together, talking, planning, and yes, crying (me mostly) as we begin the process of re-building not only our home, but our lives.

It was just stuff, what’s most important wasn’t in the fire.

Yes it’s true, I know, “It was just stuff” and what is most important wasn’t in the fire – my family. However, this house was special to me. My grandparents (now both deceased) built this house when I was about 11 years old or about 30 years ago. I grew up down hill and across the road from this house.

When my grandparents (then in their late 60’s) were building this house my grandma would hold onto the arm of my sister or myself and we would help her up and down the hill twice a day sometimes more. As a kid, couldn’t know what those moments and the talks we had on those walks would come to mean to me later in life. I have remember those moments fondly over the years.

Even the hillside still honors the memory of those walks as the path we walked then is still visible today and is once again being worn bare as my children now walk that same path down the hill and across the road to their grandparents house.

Grandma’s house was my peaceful place, that place I knew I could always return to renew my mind, body, and soul in someway.

As Pete and I have moved to various cities the last 18 years, sometimes not knowing anyone, and not having any family near us, it is the stuff, that tied us to those we love through what the items meant and the memories that warmed our hearts when we would see or use an item. It was these items (stuff) that brought family and friends to life in our home, when they weren’t with us in person.

Were you able to save anything?

After we returned, we learned that the house in fact was a total loss, and that almost everything had been damaged or destroyed. However, we did pull a few items from the house that were able to be cleaned up and other items that we are going to see if they can be refinished. I’ll talk about a few of those things here.

A three drawer dresser – My grandparents were married in 1927, and the first piece of furniture they bought together as a husband and wife was this three drawer dresser. We are hoping to have it refinished and placed in our new home as we start over again.

The Kitchen Table – This table belonged to Pete’s grandparents and the place where they sat and rested their arms were worn and small changes in the finish as well as dips in the wood could be felt. We would often sit at the table, Pete where his grandfather would sit and I beside him, in the place where his grandmother once sat, and we would remember them. We would wonder how many times had they sat in those seats with friends and family and shared their lives. We are hoping to once again share our lives with family and friends across the table as we start over again.

Set of China – The china belonged to Pete’s grandparents. I would use it rarely and for special occasions. While the hutch they were stored in (which was his grandparents as well) damaged, and not able to be reused, the set of China it housed surveyed and will now be our everyday dishes. We are now looking at each day as a special occasion and will bring memories of family to our table with each meal we share.

Baby Blanket – The blanket my grandma made for me when I was born. While the blankets and quilts my grandma and I had made together didn’t make this one made it.

Going Forward

As mentioned above, I felt like I have been in slow motion the last few weeks. As a result I am focusing on my family, my job, and re-building the house and our lives. How does this effect my volunteer contributions to Ubuntu? More on that in the next post.

Thanks for sharing in our lives and walking through this journey with us!


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