This is the second installment of what it’s like to lose your home to a fire.

Our family survived the fire destruction of our home early April 13, with the only casualties being son Zak’s minor burns that are now healing and the 10 chicks that succumbed to smoke.

A really sad note is that Zak and Lynn’s 13-year-old beagle, Meadow, had to be put to sleep Thursday because of illness, the trauma she’s gone through and not being around family. We all went to bid her a tearful farewell.

But we’re moving on. Besides finding a place to rent while the damage is repaired, the first job is sifting through the ashes of the garage to determine what we lost, and retrieve anything possible, and assess what’s not ruined by smoke in the house.

That’s a particularly dirty, nasty job. We wear facemasks — bandanas — to avoid inhaling the toxic ash while we work. Clothes we wear get tossed right into the laundry when we’re done. I won’t burden you with a list of all we lost — we’re trying to compile that from memory and photos. But there are a few things that will give you an idea.

Margaret and I had most of our household goods stored in the garage. Our clothing in the house is washing up well, but we both lost some clothes in the garage, of note Margaret’s Mexican wedding dress. She also lost her sewing machine, crocheting, knitting, quilting and embroidery notions — she’s quite creative — along with an embroidered peacock her mother made and other mementos of her family.

We both lost decades worth of photographs, including most of those of our kids.

As for me, my two rifles were lost, but my dad’s pistol may be salvageable. I also lost an extensive collection of Civil War memorabilia — I’ve been a Civil War buff since the centennial. We both lost quite a few books of all kinds. Also, I was a bit of a family historian and had old documents and photographs — some dating to the 1800s — that are now but ash. We actually managed to find a number of the old — and not so old — coins of my collection, though how restorable they’ll be we don’t yet know. There were a few other heat-seared items found.

Zak and Lynn — not to mention their four young daughters — were particularly heartbroken by the loss of the kids’ bicycles, which they’d had so much fun on before the fire. Those were just a few of the toys the girls enjoyed that are lost or melted, as well as outdoor toys and equipment, books and homeschool supplies Lynn had created.

Zak lost much of his memorabilia from his time in the Marine Corps. Zak and I both lost our complete workshops full of tools. We both saved many hand tools, but most are lost. Fortunately, Lynn had assembled a “go box” from when they fled Hurricane Florence in 2018. It was in the basement untouched by fire, and included their wedding album, kids photos and her wedding dress. Of course, most of their clothing upstairs was tainted by soot and what can’t be cleaned will have to be replaced.

Insurance will help, but much of the “stuff” is irreplaceable — and is, after all, just “stuff.”

A high school friend probably put it best when she added her condolences on Facebook and said, “The hardest part is going to grab something and remembering it’s not there.”

What counts most is knowing God has all things under control and the blessing of family and friends He’s put in our lives.

Next: Moving onto the future.

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