a girl who creates
Completely Broken
January 25th, 2010

Today my grief ends. I’ve had a cloud of grief hanging over me for more than a month and just when I though I had gotten my groove back and felt so much better last week, I got another devastating blow. I make it a point to not post too much about my personal life, but maybe this is the only way I can flush it out of my system and start to feel normal again.

^this was a woogie wednesday project we did back in 2008 – a portrait of 4 generations of women

My grandmother passed away a few weeks before Christmas. Her death was something I knew would hurt me worst than anything and I remember a few years ago when my dad suddenly passed away I told my husband that when my grandmother passed away that is when I would be totally beside myself. And I think I was. I knew it was coming and had a week to, for lack of a better word, “prepare” for what was going to happen. That might have made it easier for me but it was still just as hard as I thought it would be. I not only lost a grandmother (my last living grandparent), but my daughter lost a great-grandmother and I think that was even harder to bear. It’s so hard seeing a child grieve but also a blessing to have the comfort of that child when you’re grieving. Her sweet words and tender heart have amazed me.

As I said I got my groove back last week and then got another devastating blow. Thursday night my grandparent’s house, the house that my grandfather grew up in (he would have turned 101 this year), the house he raised his family in, the house where all my childhood memories seem to come from, the house where my daughter was creating her own memories at last summer, and I extending mine, was struck by lightening and destroyed. Burned to the ground. My mother came over early Friday morning and I knew something was up. She said she had news but it wasn’t about anyone and everyone was fine, but it is devastating and I should sit down. At that moment I knew what it was. Weird that I knew, but I knew. That second I felt I had lost everything from my grandparents. I had lost them all over again, I had lost the feeling of being at the house, the sound of the screen door slamming, the porch swing that had rocked so many generations, but most importantly their legacy. I was completely broken.

After a total freak out, I somehow got it together and went out to the house to see. The scene was heartbreaking. Still on fire that next morning and I left it that afternoon – still on fire. It was so surreal and still is. I sent Walker off to school that day without telling her why I was crying but let her know everything was ok and I would tell her about it after school. It was her 100 day celebration so I wanted her to enjoy her party. When I picked her up from school she immediately asked me why I was crying. We got in the car and I told her. She teared up a little but I don’t think she knew what that really meant. We headed back to the house and when we pulled up, she knew exactly what it meant. Her little face scrunched up and filled with tears and started sobbing. Seeing her so hurt, hurt me worse. My husband took her around the house and I could hear that they had started making a game out of it and seeing if she recognized anything (which there was hardly anything) and that seemed to help her cope. She was very glad to see her tree swing was still there and that we would be bringing it home for the backyard. That night when I tucked her in she asked for a picture of the house to put in her room. I am thankful for the memories she has of it.

I had my husband email a few of my clients that were expecting work due to them on Friday and I thought his simple words, summed up the importance of the house to my family:

“Her grandparents’ farm house (almost 100 years old) was struck by lightning and burned down last night. Thankfully nobody was living there at the time. She has a very tight-knit extended family and that home was the epicenter of their family. As you can imagine, the emotional connection to that home is huge.”

And now for the pictures. I debated showing them but I am. I guess this post is pretty much about me healing so seeing a comparison would be good. The neighbor across the street took pictures as it was burning. We are so grateful she took them, but they are awful and I don’t have those to show.

^fall 2009

^view from the front yard

^view from the garage – my granddaddy had a love/hate relationship with lawn movers – you can see 2 of them here

Thankfully a lot of things had been taken out of the house for safe keeping. There was still a lot of china, silver flatware, glassware that was lost among the other things that had no monetary value but did have sentimental value to us all, but the majority of it was not there. We are most thankful for not having to tell my grandparents that their house was no longer there. My grandmother would of taken it in stride and would have put her energy in comforting all of us, but my granddaddy would of never recovered from it.

So from this day forward my grieving will end. My body and mind can’t take it anymore and I am done telling people about it all. My aunt summed it up the other day that she felt she had been living in a dream for the last two months and I think that’s how we all feel. But I am ready to wake up. Through hard times come blessings and I can see and appreciate them and for that I am beyond grateful.

Thanks for sticking with me on this one guys. I just needed to put it all out there.

category: on the farm | Tags:

21 Responses to “Completely Broken”

  • Paula
    January 25th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Gosh, Holli… How crazy is that!? Lightning destroying the farm house! All I can say is that I’m so sorry for the losses you’ve experienced in the last month. Man. You’ve gone through a lot. A big hug for you and I’m so glad you have your family to be there together through it all. Thanks for sharing what’s been going on.

  • Laura Zarrin
    January 25th, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I know exactly how you feel about losing your grandma. I was very close to mine and it hurt so bad to loose her. My oldest was 2, but still remembers her. We tell stories about her to keep her memory alive. My youngest has a sense of her, but he wishes he had actually known her. Take care and grieve when you must. It will get better.

  • Jannie
    January 25th, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    oh my goodness Holli, what can I say. It must of been a tough time for you and your family. I’m hoping by you posting this and letting us in on whats been happening that you are really beginning to heal. Hugs to you.

  • Diandra
    January 25th, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Holli, I’m so sorry you’ve had this much loss in such a short time. My hope is that your family will walk out from the cloud of grief and into the sunshine soon. best wishes.

  • Debbie Meyer
    January 25th, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Oh goodness, Holli. I am so sad about all your losses this past couple of months. You certainly got the one-two punch. I wish I had been close to my grandparents (they lived in France), so in one way I am thrilled you & Walker had the opportunity to know your grandparents so well, but sad you are grieving their loss. I know you will have many wonderful memories. The house was adorable and looked very comforting & homey. Big hugs to you, Holli. Thank you for sharing. May 2010 bless you over & over again.

  • Paula Jordan
    January 25th, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I’m so glad you put this up on your site. It will do wonders for you, and it has helped me. I know that watching Walker’s reaction was most difficult, yet she taught all of us a lot that afternoon in the yard. I shall cherish those memories with you all and the others in the family “the day after the fire”. We will find, as we already have found, blessings in all of this. There will be sad times, too. But no one can take our memories from us! I love Chad’s words to your clients. Chin up and keep going!
    Love, Paula

  • Kathy Weller
    January 25th, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Oh Holli, my heart weeps for you and your family. I’m so appreciative that you are greiving this “in public”. Believe me it is helping a lot of people I am sure. I know it’s helping me (in a positive, comforting, way).

  • EWian
    January 25th, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I am sorry for your losses. Hope you and your family will be well.

  • Michael Campbell
    January 25th, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Hi Holli – I can’t begin to know the roller coaster of emotions you’re experiencing at this moment in your life. This is truly a devastating blow to your spirit. My family sends our love & prayers to help comfort and strengthen your heart.

  • roz
    January 25th, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    My heart goes out to you, Holli. So sorry to read about the loss of your grandmother and then the added blow of losing her home that you so obviously cherished. Life is such a mystery sometimes. xo to you all and continued prayers your way.

  • Janet Murphy
    January 26th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    I am so sorry. I don’t think any other words would sum it up more. Thinking of you.

  • Wendy Wright
    January 26th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Dear Holli,

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I know what you are going through and I know it is very painful. I lost my Grandma to a 30 year battle of cancer. She was my strength and my inspiration.
    14 years ago we lost our two family cabins in a huge wild fire that were in our family for over 40 years. My family was torn. What can never be taken away is the special MEMORIES we have of our loved ones and those special places. Those will live in your heart and be with you forever. :) All my best to you and your family during this difficult time.

  • Anette Heiberg
    January 26th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about this Holli. I’m thinking about you and your family. Lots of hugs

  • Debra Elrod
    January 26th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I am so sorry for the loss you have had.The one thing I keep thinking about is that you had that homeplace growing up. That connection, love and security of family. I know that you all cherish that as a family. That is still alive and well in your family.
    It does help to write the grief down, look at it time to time and it will lessen over time.
    Love, Debbie

  • Erica
    January 26th, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Holli, I am so very sorry for your loss. Words can’t describe…hang in there.

  • Holli
    January 26th, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Thank you all for the sweet comments and emails. I really appreciate it!

  • Christina Rodriguez
    January 26th, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I’m sorry about all your recent losses, Holli. In some strange way, though, it’s like your family is being given a clean slate, a reminder from above that nothing really lasts forever. It’s your memories and love that will truly live on and truly matter, not the material possessions that were lost.

  • claire
    January 26th, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Dear Holli, I knew you were mourning for your grandmother, but now losing a family home as well.. those photos of the house are so shocking, a true picture of what “burning to the ground” really means. You’ve been in my thoughts, thank you for sharing. We miss you in the group, come back soon! xo Claire

  • shawn
    January 26th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    i am sooo sorry you had to experience this. I know you wanted that day you wrote this to end your grief, but i havva feeling that the grief is still there gripping you with its tight little fist. But… I also bet each day, the memories of this home and your grandparents will keep growing and glowing and keeping you warm with their love…

  • Sarah
    January 27th, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    I am really sorry for the big loss of your grandmother and the home that meant so much to all of you. There are no words to comfort other than to know that they haven’t left, they are just at a different place: in your hearts.

  • c
    January 28th, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you for sharing your closure with us. May those precious memories stay alive with you and your little girl always!!