LOUISVILLE, Colo. — The end of December marks two years since the Marshall fire and many families still haven't returned home. Many, like Judy Delaware, continue to navigate the process of rebuilding.
Delaware said the end of the year 2021 started out as an extra special time for her and her family.
"We were getting very excited because our daughter was going to get engaged," she said. "The house was completely decorated. We had a big party. We had a lot of the neighbors over. We were ready for Christmas."
On December 29, the family threw one last party at their Louisville home to celebrate her daughter's engagement.
"The night before the fire was our last big get-together. And it was the day that the kids had gotten engaged," Delaware recalled. "We took one more picture in front of the fireplace because we had just finished having the house remodeled. So we were all excited about that. And so that was really the last picture we ever took in the house."
The following day on December 30, 2021, the family lost everything when the Marshall Fire tore threw their Louisville neighborhood.
"We had seen the flames at that point. And you know, it was it was close, we knew we had to get out," she added.
Now, nearly two years later, her family has still not returned home.
"Losing everything is a trauma in itself. But rebuilding is another trauma, layer upon layer — upon layer of decision making," she said.
Delaware said the building process has been challenging.
"We have, you know, 500 other people here in Louisville who are competing for contractors," she said. "So the rebuilding process is a whole 'nother layer of stress and trauma that I think nobody really explains to you."
One of the things she's looking forward to the most, she said, is being surrounded by her neighbors again.
"It's sad that I know that not everybody, it won't be that 100% of the people that were here before will be here," she said. "But we have some genuinely, almost family in this neighborhood."
Delaware is hoping her new home will be finished in time for Mother's Day.