Losing The Barn


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On June 17, 2013, Cook Dollar Barn, Gilley’s Naturals, and 8 apartments went up in smoke. Everyone got out ok, including Middle Spawn and another tenant who were the only people in the building at the time. All the tenants are clothed and relocated, and the fire has been ruled an accident, though the actual cause may never be known.

It’s hard to write this. I have been trying for two weeks to put into words all the gratitude, love, loss, devastation, hope, and countless acts of kindness. But grieving is a lot of work.  I can’t focus very long on any one thing, and my emotions are all over the map. So today I decided that instead of waiting for my brain to catch up to my heart, I would just take it a day at a time and blog about it all.

For the first week or so, we were in denial. I know I was, anyway. That’s ok though, because denial is a useful coping mechanism. It let my brain kind of run on auto-pilot while necessary arrangements and calls were made. If I’d tried to deal with all the emotional stuff, I’d have lost it. Honey Badger helped. We all became a little more like Honey Badger on YouTube.

Until yesterday, I was in the anger phase of grief. Not just testy. Boiling, seething, almost ready to hide bodies angry. Which is exhausting and scary. Plus I think it was Shark Week. Did I mention I quit smoking two weeks before the fire?

Then I visited a friend in hospice and depression kicked me in the face. Another loss…. A total stranger held me in the hallway and told me how sorry she was that my friend was so sick, while I cried so hard and from such a deep place that I almost couldn’t breathe. It’s the first time I have really cried since the building burned. (I’m the emotionally stunted one; Lois somehow manages to cry a lot and STILL get stuff done.)

And wow, is there a lot of stuff to do.

Insurance. There’s the insurance for the building, insurance for the store, lack of insurance for the 8 tenants, and insurance for the three businesses that could have easily burned with the Barn, but were nonetheless damaged by smoke and water. And our chimney and walls falling on it didn’t help.

And we aren’t the only ones grieving. For the first week, Lois pretty much showed up every day and sat and cried and visited with customers and friends whose hugs truly held her together so far. Every day, every trip to town is like another visitation or funeral. Not that that’s bad! I know it helps ME to hear people’s memories of The Barn, or the tons of other businesses that the former Brown Building housed. Seems like almost everyone has lived there at one time or another, too…

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There is a Facebook page set up for the fundraisers the community is planning,  under Brown Building Fire Relief Effort. 

It looks to be one heck of a party for all ages. Live music, kids’ games, cotton candy, pig roast…wow!

Maybe tomorrow I will tackle some of the FAQ’s, like when cleanup can start and if rebuilding is an option. For now, thank you everyone who has helped during this super-sucky time.

Loveyabye,

Laura aka Employee of the Month.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on Cook Dollar Barn and commented:

    Ugh. Posted this to wrong blog. Sorry.

  2. Posted by Andrea on July 4, 2013 at 11:17 am

    I’d rate this 5-stars! Writing brings out the best, what we truly mean to say to others (& back to ourselves). Keep it flowing… & hang in there girls!

  3. No one can understand like someone who has been through it. Dani and I have both lost our houses and all we owned to fire. In my case some wonderful, wonderful people stood by me and helped me financially and every other way. You never realize how wonderful friends are until you have a real tragedy.
    Sending lots of love and understanding from the south to the north!

  4. Posted by Monday Thursday Friday Kathy on July 4, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Memories?! The Barn became so much a part of my life – and me. You guys were there with open arms when my husband passed, encouraged me (and supplied me) with my birdhouse business, gave me a place to ‘hang’ and feel wanted, listened (patiently) to me ramble when you probably had something else to do, entertained us with the most lovable dog ever, I loved watching you welcome each customer that came in as if they were a friend, you helped me with my hair, and my makeup on my ‘big’ trip to AZ, always relished when I brought you food or cupcakes, entertained us endlessly with your antics – I could go on but you have those memories too. You are such a part of the town, not just with the wonderful business you had, but with who you are. I don’t know if we could ever give back what you gave us over the years – but we are going to try. LOVEYOUbye.

  5. We are all so so sorry for your loss.

  6. […] « Losing The Barn […]

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