I have had trouble writing. I remember this feeling when the twin towers in New York went down on 9-11, and again when we invaded Iraq. I sat mesmerized, watching CNN, hardly able to leave the TV. In the last few days, watching the “Battle of Black Forest” as the military fire fighters dubbed it, I was once again glued to the television.
I don’t know what the official terminology for this phenomena is. What I do know is that it is real. I know how strong the grip was that held me each time. It takes an absolute determined effort to pull away – and I am not the only one who has felt it.
I have friends who have lost their home, all of their possessions, and years of memories. Writing fiction seems a little trivial. It is my job, however, so I feel guilty for not writing at the same time I find it impossible to concentrate on words that have nothing to do with this devastating fire.
There is other tragedy going on in the world, always has been, always will be. The struggle is to find perspective, keep some balance, and focus on the good stuff. The best way for me to do that, is to get busy with my job, the family, gardening, projects, and reaching out as a volunteer. Another help is venting. Acceptance and moving forward always happen if a person is given the tools. Voicing your fears and feelings is a powerful tool to do just that.
Talking to my neighbor turned up similar feelings. Everything feels odd. Walking down our road like we do so often together, doesn’t seem right when so many others can’t go home. This one I do know the name of: Survivor Guilt.
The fire fighters, law enforcement, county officials, and volunteers have done an amazing job during this disaster. Unfortunately, that is because they have had practice. We get better at surviving and handling adversity when we have prior experience, and Waldo Canyon taught us all a lot.
Our new job is moving forward, doing the best we can, helping as much as we can. Thanks everyone. Your support has been amazing. Barb