My "forever" home was one of the unlucky ones.
It stills seems somewhat surreal that in a matter of minutes we went from this:
Losing Nanny will always be with me, but I know she is at peace and with her beloved Wally, and I still feel their presence in my life more than you would imagine. I can look at this photo and smile, and make her recipes and feel happy. She is closest to me when I am pottering in my garden, or mucking about with house plants, and when I see a great sunset, and when the kookaburras and parrots come to visit at the house site.
Losing the house, and the tragedies that overtook our little town that day, and since, still hurts. The Recovery Centre are now talking about the "fire scar" and I kind of like that analogy since some scars are big and ugly and visible, and others are private, or internal, or hidden. No one else knows how deep your scar runs, or which days it hurts the most, and I think that is true for almost everyone who was living in our area at the time. We certainly don't have the monopoly on grief and loss. I am reminded of this daily. Our poor little town has been through so much, and some scars take much longer to heal than others.
I had to really think about whether I wanted to write this. Our journey has been quite a public one and I wasn't sure whether I wanted to "mark" the anniversary or even acknowledge it, but you know what, it takes a village to get through something like this, and I am so very often reminded of that too. Our "village", and all of those who've supported us in so many ways deserve to know how we are going.
We live in an incredibly special place and we have been helped through this by a multitude of friends, family, total strangers. We live in a lucky country, and have received help from Federal and State and Local Government, and numerous aid agencies and community-minded individuals.
Our rebuild will be "the house that love built" and I like to fantasize about a big open house warming in the front paddock when the house is to lock up stage to say thank you to everyone who made it possible.
So 6 months on, where are we at?
The rebuilding process is slow. Our block was the first cleared in South Australia. Green Industries did a tremendous job and the State Government picked up the hefty bill. Our insurance company (RAA) have been fabulous to deal with and we were given a total loss payout. Our mortgage company (Aussie Home Loans) and our local broker (David Hartas) really looked after us and we will certainly be re-mortgaging with them.
James' shed went up in April.
We are rebuilding with Oakford Homes (whom we built our first home with at Nairne 13 years ago)
Oakford are excellent to work with and have provided equal amounts of compassion and common sense. We have faith in them and know that we will have a house we love at the end of it.
We were fortunate to find a tiny rental in Lobethal and it has been wonderful to be able to remain connected to the friends and community we love so much.
Our plans are currently with council and we hope to have final approval and a start date very, very soon.
In the meantime, I go out to our "home" most days. Even without our house, it still feels like "home" I still get that same goofy smile when I turn into the drive. I still love the sound of birdsong - the kookaburra that laughs at me a few times a week, the parrots that swoop in and pinch my rosebuds. It is still my "Haven on the Hill" I love it still.
Big blessings to you.