Sunday, June 28, 2009

Celebrate your progress

Yesterday I went to a bodywork session (combination of massage and acupuncture). They ask about relevant medical history. I wish I could ignore that the fire happened. I wish I didn't have to always say, "My house was one of the homes that burned down LAST [I sometimes say this and then remember it's almost been a year] summer." But I have incredible anxiety and stress related to the fire, and it is relevant.

One of the first comments was that I should celebrate my progress and look at how far I've come. While I appreciate that line of thinking, I felt as though skipping over the fact that my grief is real minimizes how traumatic the fire was. I need people to recognize that my grief is real, that my life is changed, that the fire was horrible. Maybe that is part of my struggle in moving on. If I let go then I feel as though I'm not acknowledging the struggle that this year has been, the incredible impact it has had on my emotional and physical well-being. I don't know why I feel such a need to have others validate the experience. I know they cannot possibly understand unless they have been there. Of course stuff is just stuff. But do you know what it's like to be taken from that stuff in such a traumatic way, in such a vulnerable (pregnant) time in life? Probably not. And yet I still want you to get it, to struggle with me. In a sense I am lucky that a neighborhood was lost because I have do have other people who get it and who struggle with me. It's the reason we rebuilt HERE.

But I also need to remember to acknowledge my progress (which I do think I have done). I have gone back to the mall, I threw away the rest of the ash, we are working on buying new patio furniture, I have let go of the beautiful hydrangeas and accepted that the landscaping company didn't plant the same kind.

I think that the recovery from the fire is kind of like ground cover. The first year they sleep, the second they creep, and the third they leap. The first year is hard, so so hard. I expect the second to be easier but still slow in our recovery. By the third year, I think it will be much much better.

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