One of the most vivid memories for me after the fire is turning onto Sweetwater Drive the Thursday after the fire and seeing house after unscathed house with their trash cans out. They were all continuing on in their lives while I lived in an efficiency hotel with little more in my possession than a couple pairs of pants, and something so mundane as a trash can jolted me into the understanding that my life now was so very, very different than everybody else. They could be sympathetic to our loss, but they still continued on, down the path of normal. And our path went every direction but.
I feel that strange disconnect again this morning... and have every morning after I hear about a major natural disaster. I woke up in my bed, brushed my teeth with my Sonicare toothbrush, stopped in at Starbucks, and went to my hyperbaric treatment. That's my normal now, and it continued on. Meanwhile, 2000+ miles away, there is someone who is standing over the devastation left by a mile-wide tornado, taking stock of their loss. They are calling insurance, contacting family, examining their lives in the context of all this stuff that they no longer have. It's hard being on this side.
All of these natural disasters bring me right back to August 25, standing in the darkness, looking down into the pit that used to be my home. It's really difficult for me emotionally, even though these disasters don't have anything to do with me, are usually thousands of miles away. I turn off the radio, unable to listen to the news about more people losing their homes. I feel so cold, uncaring even. But it's my defense, my way of coping so that I don't have to relive that day in my mind. I guess that's the beast of PTSD, and, unfortunately, that's now part of my new normal.