A Letter To Someone Who Has Lost Their Home -Guest Post by Nikki Craig
A letter to someone who has lost their home,
I want to open by telling you how sorry I am that this letter is directed towards you.
I sadly and lovingly welcome you to this new community of fire survivors.
I do not know where you are in your recovery. However, I do understand the feeling of constantly reacting to what’s happening around you, barely keeping your head above water, and not knowing where you will live next month. Literally, just surviving.
You are not alone in this uncharted territory. I will share with you what has worked for me during this past year of turmoil and struggle.
1.) Prepare yourself – You are entering a marathon. Recovery is a slow, uphill battle filled with tons of road blocks along the way. The faster you try to go, the more you will trip, stumble and fall. Connect with people that can help you navigate these new paths. Community has never been more important than now.
2.) Lower/get rid of expectations – You don’t know what your life will look like in one week, one month, one year. If you cannot get rid of expectations, then lower them to the bottom notch. I never would have imagined to be where I currently am 14 months out from the fire. Things can change on a dime, as you have sadly learned.
3.) Reach for gratefulness – Friends taking you in, donations, meals, etc. Open your heart to peoples’ love and generosity. You will need this to keep you uplifted. Caution: everyone will return back to their lives in 2-3 months. This is when you will need other fire survivors. However, if you are so angry and see absolutely no positivity in your situation, move on to #4.
4.) Watch your mental health – I really cannot stress the importance of this enough. Take your medications, exercise, and above all find a therapist! They can help you navigate, process, and deal with all these new emotions.
It’s really important to validate your feelings and not push them down. This is a real trauma with the primary goal being recovery. Recovery looks different for everyone and is defined as “the ability to live in the present without being overwhelmed by the thoughts and feelings of the past.” http://trauma-recovery.ca/recovery/phases-of-trauma-recovery/
5.) Have compassion for yourself – Do not compare, ridicule, or think you should be handling it better than you are. Negative self-talk helps no one. If you start perseverating on negative thoughts, please re-read #4.
Trust that you will come out wiser, more resilient, and more connected to your community than you ever imagined possible. You will be a different person at the end of this.
The biggest lesson I have learned in all this is surrendering and accepting our situation. This was not easy. However, my recovery did not start until I acknowledged our home was gone. Only then was I able to forge our new path.
I wish you luck, wisdom, and resilience in your journey. Safe travels.
To learn more about my friend and constant face of honesty and beauty, Nikki Craig, you can find her story and more inspiration on her site Fun After Fire. She is a wife, mother, surfer, blogger and public speaker, sharing her hard experiences and healthy truths for overcoming the loss of her family home in the Ventura, CA Thomas Fire of 2017.
Nikki, thank you for posting for It’s Mom Code! Your time is precious and I truly was touched you agreed to write a guest post. We (me, your family, friends and our community) continue to cheer you on as you reach new heights, chase new-found passions and brave the hard topics using your humor, strength and experience to nurture and inspire others.