I didn't lose my home, but I know many people who did. And I've noticed a few delicate things that have come up, things that perhaps those who've lost their homes don't quite know how to say.
Who can blame them? They're in shock. They're in this weird limbo feeling, similar to when you're staying at a hotel, and no matter how OK it might be, at some point you just want to go home.
Where do you go when you want to go home, but the home as you knew it no longer exists?
In the middle of all this, they're encountering people every day, most of whom mean well, but who can say and do things that inadvertently make the fire victims feel even worse. But the fire survivors say nothing, because they don't want to offend or ruffle well-meaning feathers. Besides, they're reserving their energy to start from zero with nothing. They wake each day to the reality that no, it wasn't a nightmare; their home really did burn in a fire. It really is all gone.
There's no Dear Abby Carr Fire book to tell us the most civilized way to navigate these rude, unruly times. But we grow wiser each day, and learn as we go. I confess that some of the things on my Carr Fire don't list are sins I've committed myself. For that, I feel crappy.
But I will do better now because I know better.
Carr Fire etiquette is similar to death etiquette. No wonder, since those who've lost homes to the Carr Fire have experienced a death - of their sanctuary, their security, their shelter, their memories, their belongings, their sentimental reminders, and on and on and on.
We can say, "I can imagine how difficult it must be," but really, unless it's happened to us, we cannot imagine. Not really. Even so, here are a few things I've learned that I'll pass onto you, mainly in the area of what not to do and what not to say.
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