Even though the fire happened about a year and half ago, I am still greatly impacted by it. I struggle to make ends meet, recover from all the items that I lost, and most importantly find hope during times when I am extremely depressed.
The wind was howling so loudly that I thought it could shatter the glass of the window that was right next to me. Outside was a blanket of snow from previous snowstorms, snow banks lined the streets creating only a small tunnel for people to walk. Snow swept through the air forcefully brushing windows, cars and any unfortunate pedestrians who ventured outdoors. Most people were inside heading the advice of the news reporters who forecasted “blizzard like conditions, people should stay off the roads to make way for road crews plowing the streets, temperatures below freezing, make sure you bundle up if you have to go outside, the state is urging people to stay inside.”
- The potential first part of my book.
I wish that I could say that I am all better now, that the fire was just a part of my life and I have moved past it, but the truth is that I still struggle on a day to day basis. There are still many aspects of my life that I still battle with, like recovering items that I lost, dealing with PTSD symptoms, making ends meet, and most importantly, finding hope during the stressful times.
I have read plenty of books about people who have reached the state of acceptance following a fire, but I am not one of those people, yet. Unfortunately, I did not have renter’s insurance so I have almost no money to fall back on to recover items that I have lost. There were many people in the town, strangers, friends, and family that opened up their hearts and wallets immediately after the fire, but once a couple of months had passed, so did the financial support.
For many months after the fire I went without many basic necessities, like clothing and cooking items. Sure, I had clothes on my back, but nothing fit correctly because it was all donations. Every time, I wanted to complete a task, like make food I would run into stumbling blocks, realizing I didn’t have a can opener or peeler to peel potatoes. When I was in school I would try to complete projects, only to discover I didn’t have the necessary supplies, like paint brushes, paint, paper and so forth. Every where I turned I felt like a hurdle was in my path and I could either jump over it or stay in the same place.
Today, I still feel like am constantly jumping hurdles. The hardest part now is dealing with financial issues that are a direct result of the fire. Having to replace everything out of pocket has put a big damper on my finances. My apartment now, is nearly three times a big as my old apartment, which I am grateful for. On the other hand, this means that there are more bills, and more going out.
While I might have a lot of the items that I need to get by I still feel a huge void in me. Wondering if a fire is ever going to happen again. The dreams at night have become less horrific, but are still present. My anxiety is still there, but at least I don’t feel like now that I am going to have a panic attack every hour. The memory is still there. Probably what causes me the most pain is thinking about losing my artwork and art supplies. I can never regain that back, it’s something that I will have to live with.
Now that it has been about a year and half since the fire, some things have been getting easier, but some things have stayed stagnant or in some cases gotten worse. I try to find hope in light of situations whenever I can, but it can be difficult at times. Sometimes I will go for walks near my old apartment and it makes me feel grateful that I made it out alive, that nobody in the building was burned or died. When I am having a hard time dealing with the moment I try to reflect, and I think that perhaps my experience has some greater purpose. Maybe simply sharing my truth, my words on this blog could potentially help another person. Maybe at the end of the day all the matters is that we made it through, that tragedies happen in life, but we can get through them to face tomorrow.