Sense of Loss

At the end of September, Andy’s parent’s home burned. Everyone made it out safe except for the fish. The fire started outside and spread under the eves so the firefighters had to punch through the (2 month old) roof in order to put out the flames. The interior was destroyed by fire, smoke and water. I took photos when Andy and I first visited to help with the itemization for the insurance company. They aren’t easy for me to look at.

I’ve been paralyzed to write about the fire without knowing that Andy’s parent’s and sister had a place to live and something to work toward. Now they are somewhat settled into a rental home and waiting to hear from the insurance company on the settlement.

It was 4am when we got a text saying the house burned and everyone was safe. Andy and I held each other and worried. The next morning was a blur of emotion and short, sad phone conversations. The Holmes family centralized and we all did what we could to help. The Hood River community also stepped up and provided free lodging in a hotel until Lynne, Steve and Joanna could move into the rental.

While I was in the house, I discovered that a fire is a nasty toxic thing. The mess left behind in the house was trapped under layers of scorched insulation and it was so putrid that gloves and a mask were necessary. Very little of a lifetime of belongings was saved. There was a moment when Steve looked at a particularly meaningful and destroyed collection of miniature record artwork when I thought we might all lose it.

As Steve said while talking to Andy, losing a house is like losing a family member. Grief and disbelief are a part of the process of moving along. We’re all hoping the insurance company has good news for the Holmes family. Good thoughts are welcome by all.