On the night the big fires started, there was another fire that started in a field next door to me. It could have spread like the others did, but fortunately was put out quickly. I sometimes wonder why my home was spared when others lost theirs. When I catch myself wondering this, I tell myself that if everyone lost their homes, there would be nobody local to support their recovery. We all have a role to play.
Instead of asking yourself “Why not me?” from a place of guilt, use it as jumping off point to ask yourself, “What role do I have to play in the recovery?”
If I had lost my home, I would not be able to remain focused on Songbird and the support it provides for those who need to heal and recover. Others have had a role of providing massages and meals to the first responders and those in shelters. They are helping to create a new model for disaster relief. Some people are spearheaded fundraising efforts or are shopping to support the local economy. If you lost your home, you have served the role of catalyzing the outpouring of love in Sonoma County and the Sonoma Strong movement.
It may not be easy for you to think about your role if you are still caught up in unprocessed emotions from the last couple weeks. You might have suppressed your feelings in order to get through the immediate crisis. Now that the fires are basically over, it’s time to let yourself feel everything that you have bottled up. There are probably many emotions pent up inside you, especially if you were significantly affected.
One emotion I feel sometimes is the fear of having had a fire next door to me that could have caused me to lose my home. Every time the fear comes up, I let it flow through me without judgment and then I can move on. I let myself cry if I want. I also feel gratitude for those who saved my home including my partner who was busy watering down our property while the firefighters were still connecting their hoses. If he hadn’t helped out, the fire could have spread to the eucalyptus trees, the neighborhood, and Petaluma.
Once you move through the emotions, you can move into a place of acceptance for whatever happened to you over the last couple weeks. You can focus on your role without anger for losing your home, guilt for having your home, or guilt for what you are or aren’t doing. Perhaps your role is simply to continue with life as usual. Whatever it is, that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with whatever you are doing or whatever you are feeling at this time.
If you do want support exploring your emotions, sorting out your next steps, or just a place to hang out with others, Songbird is here to support you.
We look forward to seeing you soon.