Finding Safety After the Fires

Most of my counseling sessions with children include playing with a variety of toys. Depending on their life circumstances, children will make different choices about the types of toys they want to pull off the shelves. Recently the emergency vehicles have been getting a workout! The fire fighters have rescued people, pets, homes and cars from total destruction over and over again. We have had in-depth discussions about how the slurry bombers work, when the ambulance shows up, and the best way to clean up after a fire.

Children and adults throughout our community are looking within and without to restore their feeling of safety. Some people are facing enormous losses as their homes and possessions have literally gone up in flames, as a number of community members were fighting to save these very houses. Others are scrambling to meet the needs of friends and family who find themselves displaced or returning to homes overwhelmed with the smells of rotten food and smoke. Many people have prepared to evacuate several times over, only to be told at the last minute that they are safe.

The reactions to the recent fires have been as diverse as our community experiences. One woman who lost everything has committed to simplifying her life. Although in deep grief for her loss, she is making a conscious decision about what her new home will hold. For other people the grief, anxiety and depression have become overwhelming, and they are seeking counseling for tools and support. Some families found that the threat of loss has actually brought them closer together as they remember what is really important: each other.

So in this time of grief and healing may we each find time to honor our own experiences, and reach out to those around us who need extra support.