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Pauline reflects on rebuilding her life

Pauline reflects on rebuilding her life

“We can’t stay stuck in the misery and terror. We’ve got to dust ourselves off and focus on what happens now,” said Pauline Cowan of Freeling regarding last year’s Pinery Fire.

Pauline lost her historic and well-loved home of 32 years, all within a matter of minutes.

Not only did she lose her home, she lost one of her cats, her garden and all the contents inside her home – besides the clothes she stood in and her handbag.

She also lost her treasured photographs of her late parents, her family heirlooms such as a Christmas fairy from her childhood, her long term collection of green glass and antiques, and basically, a lifetime of memories.

Pauline explained that simple things, like going to grab Christmas decorations that no longer exist, just brings back memories of that day.

“I was going to find Christmas decorations that I don’t have anymore and it all just dawned on me,” she said.

“As you get older you accumulate things and the reminders of losing everything will stay in my head for quite some time.”

To Pauline, the past year has been all about healing and rebuilding her home, something which she doesn’t want to do again.

Pauline explained that she has always had good insurance, and although she hasn’t claimed once in the past 32 years, this one was definitely a big one.

She also had no mortgage on her home, which paired with insurance, has allowed her to build a bigger home with all the ‘luxuries’ she’s always wanted.

“I think it’s so much different when you move home by choice, you’re surrounded by all your belongings and sentimental things – I didn’t get that,” she said.

Pauline told The Leader that she’s always seen families on television that lose everything but the clothes they’re in and that she’s thought “How does that even happen?” This is something she definitely knows now.

The day of the Pinery Fire, November 25, will always be etched in Pauline’s brain.

“People keep saying the fire was on the 24th – I say no, it was the 25th, that date is edged in my mind,” she said.

 For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.