In times like these, survivors are grappling with the aftermath, and your compassion can make a difference in their lives. Often, finding clear guidance on how to assist can be frustrating, leading to moments of discouragement. Your willingness to offer concrete advice on navigating resources and offering a helping hand can significantly ease the burden they’re facing. Examples of frustrating tasks include the long lines for assistance from government agencies or waiting for important phone calls from their insurance carrier or the County. You could assist by standing in line for them or waiting by the phone with them. The companionship of a friend may help pass the time and reduce their stress.
Extending a Caring Presence:
Amidst the struggles faced by those who’ve endured the fires, your empathetic presence holds immense value. While you may not fully comprehend their journey, your genuine desire to listen and understand can provide them with solace. Encouraging survivors to openly share their experiences with professionals or friends can foster healing and growth.
In the Long Run:
The path to recovery is an extended one, filled with moments of profound difficulty. During occasions like holidays, anniversaries, and family events, the loss becomes even more poignant. Your heartfelt gestures, like reaching out and ensuring they feel seen, can be a lifeline. Some examples of events that have triggered our past clients include the following:
- Survivors often cannot light candles on birthday cakes because the smell of smoke takes them back to their traumatic evacuation.
- Holiday events may take them by surprise. A former client became very upset on Halloween. Prior to the 2018 fire in Paradise, she loved Halloween and she stored boxes of decorations in her garage. She lost all her decorations in the fire. And she knew could never accrue the same type of decorations. The holiday reminded her of joyful events that she felt she would never again experience.
- August 8 will always be challenging for the survivors. Help your friends prepare for the heavy feelings that will come with that date.
As occasions arise, remind your friends of your unwavering love and support. Invite them to share how they’re feeling about the occasions and how the fire events may have affected those feelings. As appropriate, you may suggest to them professional assistance and offer to find them some recommendations. Recognize that their journey to healing and your support have only just begun.
Nani ka ʻōiwi o ka lāʻau i ka luaiele ʻia e ka makani.