First of all, I know this has very little to do with writing but it has a lot to do with things we're reading and watching these days.
I’ve lost a house to a fire. Now that’s a small loss next to what I see happening at Fort McMurray but I want to share some of the things I experienced.
That first day after it all sinks in is a hard day. Nothing about it is real. The true weight of the loss is not felt. You survived and that’s about as far as you can think.
Then the donations start to arrive. When you just have the clothes on your back and they are covered with black soot that smells of smoke—not just any smoke but dirty smoke, you welcome a change of clothes. But the donations keep coming and while you are very thankful, what are you supposed to do with all of it?
I remember doing laundry the first time after the fire. I didn’t have a clue who owned what. I felt like a failure as a mother not to recognize my own children’s clothes.
We were fortunate to get into a place of our own very quickly after the fire. The Fort McMurray residents won’t have that luxury. There are so many decisions to be made. And so much to do. I lost all of my I.D. cards. I had to replace them. It all takes time and effort in a period when you feel lost, not sure where to start.
It’s been ten years since our fire. This is the first year I’ve thought about doing some landscaping. I had beautiful flowerbeds and a pond in front of the house we lost. I’ve never had the desire to put the work into making my yard look nice again until now. It takes time to overcome the emotional aftershock.
I know when I lost my house, God had a plan. He did much more than just replace all we lost. He restored my faith in my community which at the time I needed. He also proved to me He had my back. I didn’t need to worry about stuff. I hope these people can also see God’s hand even in an event that seems like God has abandoned you. He hasn’t.
My prayers are with the people of Fort McMurray and will be for a long time in the future because I know this journey won’t be over— even ten years from now. And maybe then some will write about it and we can all hear the stories of courage and faith that I'm sure are a part of this tragic event.