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After the fire: 'The stuff I missed the most is the stuff that I used the least'




NAPA, CA - OCTOBER 11: The sun shines behind a smoky sky and scorched trees at the family-owned winery, Signorello Estate, on Napa's Silverado Trail, which was destroyed by the Atlas Fire, on October 11, 2017 near Napa, California. In one of the worst wildfires in state history, more than 2,000 homes have burned and at least 17 people have been killed as more than 14 wildfires continue to spread with little containment in eight Northern California counties.   (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - OCTOBER 11: The sun shines behind a smoky sky and scorched trees at the family-owned winery, Signorello Estate, on Napa's Silverado Trail, which was destroyed by the Atlas Fire, on October 11, 2017 near Napa, California. In one of the worst wildfires in state history, more than 2,000 homes have burned and at least 17 people have been killed as more than 14 wildfires continue to spread with little containment in eight Northern California counties. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
David McNew/Getty Images

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"I woke up to flames on the ridge outside my house, and I grabbed my pets, and I left. I had been hopeful that maybe they'd put it out or it would go another way, and then it didn't."

That's how Napa resident Emily Cocks described the start of what would become the long process of trying to rebuild her life.

The fires burning in Southern California have destroyed hundreds of structures and forced thousands to flee over the past week. 

For many of those evacuees, it's a time of uncertainty. Several will return to find their homes still standing, but others won't be so lucky. 

Napa resident Emily Cocks spoke to KPCC in October right after her home burned down in the Atlas fire. 

https://twitter.com/EmilyCocks/status/917528294588801024

She shared an update Monday with Take Two. "I found out the house had burned when I saw a picture on the internet," she starts.

I was shocked and in disbelief and anxious and scared and heartbroken. 

Two months later, I'm still sad. When you lose everything, I found that the stuff I missed the most is the stuff that I used the least. It was those memories and pictures. I found a couple of my triathlon awards in the rubble, and that's it. Everything else is gone. Now I feel like there's pre-fire and post-fire. My life is kind of divided in half. 

I ended up staying with my parents for a little bit, and now I'm back in Napa trying to find a sense of normalcy while navigating getting the house demolished and figuring out rebuilding and talking to insurance. Being back in Napa is helpful. I feel a little bit more at home. But it's still hard because I'm not living at home. 

I've been learning a lot. Allow people to help you. Ask questions. Write things down. Keep a list of everything. Keep your receipts. Sometimes you don't want to talk about the fire, and it's okay to say that. You have to allow yourself to mourn, because I do think it is a mourning process. 

I'm thinking of you, Southern California. It's hard for me to watch because I know exactly what you're feeling. Please know that my heart is with you.