Dancing in the Dark

October 10, 2010
Thirty-Three Days After the Fire

Hello Dear Friends,

I was talking to someone today, and she asked, “How are you doing?” I stopped and said, “That’s a rather complicated question right now.” It’s amazing how complex life becomes after something like this, and even the most ordinary of questions becomes a loaded gun, aimed at your heart. “How are you doing?” Oh, God, do you really want to know? Do you really? Because if I really answer, honestly tell you how I’m doing, you might not like what you hear.

It’s like this. Ninety-nine percent of the people I talk to each day are wonderful, helpful, incredible people. And every day – every single day, someone says something that is inadvertently hurtful, stupid or inappropriate, and it goes like a knife into my heart. Wonderful people. Well meaning people. When it comes to dealing with grief, loss and death, we as a culture are dancing in the dark. We put a foot forward, stumble, and wonder why the lights went out. Why is it so dark in here? Can’t they just change the bulb and move on? “Move on.” As a culture we are obsessed with “moving on” after a tragedy.

I got a letter today from some friends – thoughtful, well meaning people – who wrote, “We are so glad you are moving on with rebuilding and getting your life back together.” Moving on? Are you kidding? This whole mess has barely started. Never mind the grief, the loss, the PTSD – jumping when you hear a siren, cringing at the sound of a helicopter – there’s the County to deal with, and why can’t the Post Office find my mail? A friend of mine comes over for a visit and says, “Oh, I’m so jealous you get to live in a cottage!” Really? Jealous? This place is adorable, and it’s 500 square feet. Would you really trade your 3,000 square foot house and big yard for a cottage? C’mon, think about it, willya?

When I say things like this I sound mean, ungrateful, intolerant. I am not any of those – I’m merely trying to tell the truth about my life.

Back when I was an undergraduate English major, I read a piece by Muriel Rukeyser, who wrote, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” I remember I wrote a tedious paper titled, “World Split Open: The Truth About My Life.” I was 18, and some poor graduate instructor in Women’s Literature had to wade through it. I probably got a “C.”

But now, in my 50’s, in the wake of this bizarre, surreal experience of homeless limbo, I am too tired to not tell the truth. Being nice and taking care of everyone is too exhausting – I can only tell it like I see it. And when people ask me if I am “moving on,” I want to spit nails. Talk to me in a year, okay? Moving on. People cannot bear to stay in the feelings of tragedy for long, and we Americans are famous for our short attention spans. As my friend Sharon Glassman joked, “People are like, ‘Hey, your tragedy is So Last Month. Whaddaya got that’s new?'” Whaddaya got, indeed.

Last Saturday I went to the Four Mile Canyon Revival Concert. It was headlined by Phish, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Leftover Salmon, among others. Several people who lost homes in the fire had been given tickets by the sponsor, The Community Foundation, one of my all-time favorite charitable organizations. So I was thrilled to get free tickets and take my friend David, who has been so helpful in dealing with the insurance company, builders and contractors, and my crazy moods.

If I’d realized how shell shocked I still was, I probably wouldn’t have gone.

David and I got there right before six, and my stomach dropped when I saw the crowd outside the Event Center. There wasn’t a line to get in – but rather a huge crush of people, pushing helter-skelter to the few entrances. I grabbed David by the arm and said, “I’m not sure I can do this…” But I took a deep breath, hung on to David, and joined the fray. The crowd consisted mostly of twenty-something Phish fans, dressed in all manner of Hippie/Dead Head attire, who ran around hugging each other and squealing with delight over long-lost friends. As we stood there, a young woman in a pink tutu ran up to another young woman and screeched, “Oh, it’s so good to SEE YOUUUUU!” and then leaped into her arms. I thought it was kind of cute, actually. The woman in the tutu gave me a rather stoned-looking smile, and I said, “Yep, I’m probably old enough to be your Mom. Maybe even your grandmother.” She smiled and said, “Oh, I wish my Mom was half as cool as YOUUU!” and then leaped up and gave me a long, stoned hug. As I said, kinda cute.

When we finally got inside and I could breathe again, we asked an usher where our seats were. “Are you with the fire fighters?” She asked. “They’re over there in the front, in a reserved section.” “No,” I said, “We’re with the people who lost homes in the fire.” “Oh,” she said. “Those are General Admission. Just sit anywhere.” I turned to David with panic in my eyes and said, “General Admission? Are you kidding? This place is a zoo.” I had no idea how frazzled my nerves were until I faced the mass of dancing, pot smoking fans gathered on the floor of the arena. Sit anywhere? Oh, my God. I haven’t had a General Admission seat since I was about thirty. But again, deep breath, and we found two seats in the back, by the door, a few rows up. It wasn’t very crowded there, and from up there I could watch the incredible theater taking place down on the floor as the bands began to play. There were guys in rainbow caftans, top hats, and Jerry Garcia wigs; a guy in a silver lame jumpsuit and chunky, platform shoes. A girl with a skirt made entirely of glow-sticks. Lots of young white guys in dreadlocks, bobbing and weaving and shuffling to the music of the first band.

After a while I actually relaxed. The music was good, and our section was only moderately crowded. Everyone got up and danced, and after a while I joined in. The young guy dancing next to me leaned over and shouted over the music, “WHERE YOU FROM?” I shouted back, “BOULDER. YOU?” “TELLURIDE” he shouted back. “WE DROVE SEVEN HOURS TO GET HERE AND WILL DRIVE SEVEN HOURS TONIGHT TO GET HOME. I HAD TO CALL IN SOME SERIOUS FAVORS TO GET THESE TICKETS. HOW DID YOU SCORE YOURS?” I leaned over and shouted in his ear, “MY HOUSE BURNED DOWN.” He stopped dancing and looked at me, shocked. Then he recovered himself and hollered, “CAN I GIVE YOU A HUG?” Hugs being the order of the day at a Phish concert, I acquiesced. And then we just danced.

When the first act ended, a couple of speakers came out and talked about how scary the fire was, how they evacuated with only a moment’s notice and how they struggled to figure out what to take with them. And how the firefighters saved their homes, saved the town of Gold Hill, and how they got to go home again. Then the emcee shouted, “Let’s give it up for the REAL HEROES sitting in here tonight, OUR VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTERS!!!” The crowd went completely crazy, stomping and cheering for several minutes, while I clapped my hands over my ears. Each time a new act went on stage, this was repeated. Another story about how a house was saved, another thunderous standing ovation for the firefighters. A check for ten thousand dollars was presented, to the fire fighters. Another happy ending. Let’s go on with the show.

About half way through the concert, they began a slide show. As the huge screens on either side of the stage darkened, my heart caught in my throat. “Oh no,” I thought, “Oh no, they couldn’t, they wouldn’t…” Sure enough, they began to roll pictures of the fire. Smoke billowing out over the Flatirons. Firefighters and trucks. Red skies. Black, burned trees. Slurry bombers flying over the forest. “Oh my God,” I said, putting my hand over my mouth. “David I have to go get some air.”

I walked out into the nearly empty lobby, trying to breathe, wondering if I needed to tell David it was time to go. Suddenly a voice called out, “Hey, you’re from Sugarloaf,” and I turned around. Standing there were some other people who had lost their homes in the fire; I recognized them from the meeting we had with the County a few days before. “You spoke in the meeting,” a woman said, “How are you?” I looked at her and said, “HOW AM I?” and we all burst out laughing. “I’m a mess,” I said, “How are you?” She said, “Oh God, we’re a mess too. We thought we were the only ones. It seems like everyone else has moved on.” I snorted, “Yeah, it’s been almost FIVE WHOLE WEEKS since the fire. We should definitely all have MOVED ON by now.” And again we laughed our exhausted, disoriented laugh. We talked for over an hour, while the music played inside the arena, and the Phish fans danced and drank and smoked more pot, and the standing ovations for the firefighters punctuated our conversation.

We talked about our guilt, our anger, our frustrations; about the State declaring our beloved homes and property hazardous waste sites, about the exorbitant cost of haz mat debris removal, about our charred trees, which one man at the County meeting had described as, “Like corpses – we’re surrounded by corpses,” as he burst into tears. As we talked in the lobby, one man said quietly that he felt like something was wrong with him, because he felt compelled to go up to the site of his burned home every day and sift through the ashes. Many of his neighbors, he said, didn’t even want to go look. They just called the bulldozers and said, Take it all away. “Are we in denial?” his wife asked. I said, “If you want to go up every damn day for a year, have at it. You just go up there as much as you want and who cares what people say. Everyone has their own process, and there’s no right or wrong for any of us. Screw the people who tell us we should be “moving on.”

One woman said that she had been called in by her daughter’s teacher, who scolded her for her daughter’s missed assignments, and said that other kids in her class who were “affected by the fire” had “moved on,” and it was frankly time for her daughter and their whole family to “start moving on.” My jaw dropped and my eyes filled with tears at this story. Did those other kids who were “affected by the fire” get to go home again? Or did they lose everything — their toys, their stuffed animals, their safe and familiar home? Having been there as a kid, I know the trauma of losing my childhood home to a fire. How dare a teacher, or anyone, tell a parent that their child has to truncate their grieving, put their pain in a box, and move on. For shame.

After a while I was hoarse from talking, and we all hugged and said we’d keep in touch, and stumbled away to find our seats and the friends in the arena we had abandoned for so long. I felt exhausted but also somehow at peace. I am not alone, I thought. I am not becoming a bitter, angry person, I am telling the truth about my life, in whatever clumsy and awkward and angry way that I can. We are all stumbling through this together; we are all dancing in the dark. I went back in and asked David if we could leave, and he cheerfully agreed. “Whatever you want,” he said.

These are the real heroes here tonight, I thought. The people who are walking this path with their homeless, burnt-out friends. The people who say “Yes,” who show up, who listen to our rants and tirades and then make a joke and laugh and cry with us. The people who, like David, listen to but don’t indulge our anger. When I get too crazy, David smiles and says, “Dah-link. Me thinks you might be over reacting just a tad,” and then I shout “YOU THINK SO?!” and we laugh until we cry. These are the heroes of my universe tonight.

Lainie, who spent three days on the phone with me as I drove fifteen hundred miles across country, alone in the car, knowing that my house had burned down. Matthew, who took a week off work, and jumped on a plane from Chicago to come help. Kathy, who flew out for a weekend from Massachusetts, because she knows something about facing tragedy and loss as a single person. Ellen, who I haven’t seen in five years, who brought me corn chowder, and said, “I’m going to be a pest. I’m going to check up on you.” Beth, who took me in after the fire and rallied my friends and organized food and a party for me within days of the fire, to make sure I had the basics of life covered. Marki, who showed up like Santa Claus each day, and brought me towels and clothes and furry socks and a beautiful vase, because every girl needs a vase to put flowers in.

My list of heroes and s/heroes goes on and on. Every day, another gift. Every day, another sorrow. This is the essence of it. This is the agony and the ecstasy of life under the microscope of loss. The pain is sharp; the joy wells up in flashing, searing moments of gratitude. What pain will tomorrow bring? What joy? What gifts?

We left the concert at midnight, even though it was still going strong. I came home to my quiet cottage and my Nellie dog, and said good night to David. That night I dreamed of fire, of running from fire, of the ocean on fire, and not being able to reach my friend Ellen on the phone. In the confusion of my dream, my clumsy fingers couldn’t find the numbers, and I ran on and on, alone and afraid. When I reached the edge of the shore and faced the wall of fire, the phone rang, and it was Ellen. “Thank God you called,” I cried. “Thank God for you.” And when I looked up, the fire had gone out.

And then I woke up, with Nellie snuggled at my shoulder, and the sun rising. Another day, I thought. Another step in this confusing, erratic, and strangely fascinating dance. And Nellie looked at me, and wagged her tail. And on we go.

Take Good Care and Good Night,

Andi and Nellie

Be Sociable, Share!
This entry was posted in Friends, Nellie the Dog, PTSD. Bookmark the permalink.
If you liked this post...
click here to subscribe to this blog. Once you've subscribed, you'll get new posts delivered to your email inbox.

42 Responses to Dancing in the Dark

  1. Marian Thier says:

    Andi, I am one of the many who reads each word and waits for the next. Your eloquence and honesty brings us along on your complex and soulful journey.

    Your admirer,
    Marian Thier

  2. Angie says:

    Hi andi. We haven’t met but I’m an old old friend of beth in PA. I’m so sorry for your loss. I think it’s great that you can see all of this. Very observant. Beautiful every emotion. Take your time. Tell your friends/support system what you need. Hopefully they are educating themselves on trauma, loss & grief. I just did a training on this topic last week. Your story/observation is an amazing example of what we teach them. We as support persons need to meet victims where they are, let them lead & be comfortable with uncomfortable emotions & reactions. I’m not sure I really have a point but I send blessings from PA as you continue this journey. Angie

  3. Cathy Steiner says:

    Your writing is beautiful, Andi!

  4. Tara says:

    I too am one of those people who don’t know what to say but want to say something. Mostly that I see you. I feel you and you are not alone. May your dance go deep and your roots hold you. Much love and understanding from a stranger.

    • Andi says:

      Tara – In Ireland they say that a stranger is “a friend you haven’t yet met.” I hope we can meet some time. Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts.

  5. Andi, thank you for sharing your journey. Your new blog is really quite beautiful and your writing takes my breath away.

    When my partner died unexpectedly (I was 33 years old) and my world turned upside down, I wrote and wrote and wrote. It was not as eloquent as your writing but it was healing.

    Loss is a funny thing. I felt crazy – really crazy – for a full year after Kathy died. (What about you? A little crazy, by chance?) All those things they say about those stages of grief . . . they come but not in some nice neat little linear package. They come in waves paired with a million other feelings.

    I learned to do this simple little meditation during that year. I would imagine ocean waves. The waves would roll out (and I would say “Be”). The waves would roll back onto shore (and I would say “still.”) Be . . . still . . . . Be . . . still. Be still. It helped to steady my insides that were otherwise in constant tremble mode.

    I don’t know what it’s like to lose a brother or two homes by fire. I can’t really imagine how I would survive . . . and yet you and Nellie are surviving.

    Blessings to you, Andi O’Conor, and to Nellie! Wishing you many gifts on your journey.

    • Andi says:

      Tamara, thank you so much for your comment and for sharing about the loss of your partner. I am so sorry. And yes, I am totally crazy. I even say it out loud to my friends, “Oh my God I’m crazy right now!” and then we laugh.

      My informal “mantra” these days is, “Stay with what IS.” Not what I want, or what I wish, or what was, what IS. Right now. That helps me stay away from that most bitter edge that bites back. My friends let me grieve and also help pull me away from “woulda/shoulda/coulda,” and back to what IS. It is helpful. Thanks so much for writing, and take good care. – Andi

  6. Deirdre Dalton says:

    Dear Andi,

    Congratulations on getting your blog posted! The deep truth in your words is so moving. Your essays and pictures speak volumes about loss, our culture and the human condition. I look forward to reading more.

    By the way, I still have those recipes for you. Will stop by when I can.

    Love and hugs,
    Deirdre

    • Andi says:

      Hi Deirdre,
      Thanks so much for the congrats. I’m looking forward to the recipes! (Deirdre decided to give me a box of her collected recipes – isn’t that thoughtful?) I really miss my cookbooks and a lifetime of recipes; snipped from the newspaper, handed down from family, given by friends. It’s the little things, isn’t it?
      And Deirdre, seeing you is always a treat. Hugs, Andi

  7. Piper Bayard says:

    Your writing is quite moving. I lost a husband to mental illness 21 years ago. Even though I have an amazing husband and family, there are still parts of me that haven’t “moved on.” Blessings to you.

    • Andi says:

      Hi Piper, Nice to meet you.

      I’m so sorry about the loss of your husband. A year after my brother died, someone asked me if my life had gone back to “the way it was.” I said that after a great loss, we never go back to what was. Our own personal Earth shifts on its axis, and we must adjust to a new gravity — that’s just how it is. I think “moving on” is a myth – we simply re-form as humans; we become a different “shape.” Part of the person or thing that has passed away will always be with us, as part of our new Self. I’m sending blessings to you as well.

  8. Sibylle says:

    I think a part of us will always miss the loved people and places that we lose. You’re expressing the loss that many of us feel, but some want to escape. And some people may not yet have lost as much.

    • Andi says:

      So true – as a forward-thinking/moving culture we often want to bury the past, and skip the feelings. And I think it’s okay to miss those things that we have lost. It means they were important.

  9. Hilary says:

    Even though I didn’t comment on the BWA lists as your story unfolded, I was so moved by your story of struggle and courage. I’m thrilled you finally decided to put your posts into a blog–I must admit I teared up again when reading it. You express your feelings so well. Thanks for sharing–and yes, I bet Nellie is a savior to you in so many ways!

    • Andi says:

      Thank You Hilary. Nellie is curled up in the sun with a teddy bear my neighbor gave her while I work on the computer. Just looking at her makes me feel better!
      Take good care.

  10. Matte says:

    Andi,

    Your words touch parts of me, in my soul, that I sometimes wish weren’t there. Every good intention left unfulfilled, every awkward attempt at comfort, every unintentional blunder.

    Yes, as always, your words are perfect. And I wish they weren’t. And I’m glad they are.

    –matte

  11. Andi, your eloquent writing about your devastating experiences prompts me to say, “There’s a book in this”–I believe a lot of people could find solace and inspiration in your words.

  12. Verna Wilder says:

    Andi, I feel so happy to have your words available whenever I want to read something really well written. No, people don’t know what to say, so it’s a good thing we can give hugs or make eye contact or say thank you for writing. When my best friend died 6 years ago this month, my world turned upside down, and one friend told me, “It’s been 3 months – you need to get over this!” I lost that friend because I could not “get over this” in the way she thought I should. At this 6-year anniversary, I know that we don’t get over great loss – we adjust – each at her own pace and in her own time – but I can tell you that there is still a hole in my life where Mona lived, and when my sister died a year later, another hole. You will gradually incorporate this loss into the story that is your life, and I know from your writing that you grow wiser with every dream, every memory, every flashback. And you will forever feel the stab of reaching for something that isn’t there anymore – a book, a bookmark, a chipped mug.

    I appreciate your courage, your willingness to be in IT – what IT is – and the honesty of your writing. Thank you.

    • Andi says:

      Verna, Thanks so much for your beautiful thoughts and words. I think three of the cruelest words in the English language are “Get over it.” It means stop feeling, stop grieving, cut away that hole and try to be the way you were.

      One of the toughest things right now is what I call the “I had that” phenomenon. I see something that is just like something I had and there is a flash of recognition (“Oh, there’s my….! Oh wait…) then the sadness, (Oh, I had that.) The Joy of Cooking! I have… Oh, I used to have that…. Hey, I have shoes just like that! Oh, I mean, had. Sigh.

      Brooke Linville wrote a beautiful post on her blog http://www.lifeafterthefire.com about going to buy a spatula after her house burned down, and looking at a whole wall of spatulas and saying, “I just want my old one back!” I love that story. She also assures me in a couple of years I won’t miss my old couch or spatula, so that’s a relief.

      I have to remember that it’s only been six weeks since the fire, so all of this is still raw and new. Many of us are barely inching out of Denial (“Hey, this was a nice little vacation, can we go home now? What do you mean, NO?!)

      Verna, many thanks for commenting, and take good care.

  13. Yay for Twitter, which helped me get the info I needed during the fire, and helped me find this blog. People say such harmful things sometimes, when you’re grieving. My infant son died a few months before the Black Tiger fire on Sugarloaf in 1989. I was out of my mind. Back then there was only minimal email and of course no cell phones (it’s possible we still had party lines in Eldora). Many people were away camping during the fire, including the head of our bank in Nederland. They didn’t return till a few days after the fire was out, and had NO IDEA that the fire had even occurred till they drove up the canyon. That was how they found out about their home, which was a total loss. Understandably, they were extremely upset.

    This is what the bank chair said to me, a month or so after the fire: “We keep finding something else that’s gone. At least your loss is final.”

    That comment caused me unbelievable agony at the time. I’ve actually thought a lot about it over the years, trying to see what he was telling me about his experience. Once I could see past my pain I think I could come to appreciate his… if you take the *first* sentence and ignore his attempt to put it in context with my loss, it is powerful. Isn’t it too bad we don’t just let losses stand in their own rights, and hold them for one another? If only we could have reached past our own pain and touched each other more deeply.

    There is no need to move on. Move with. And sit with, whenever necessary. Sleep with. Be with.

    Love to you, plain and simple.

    • Andi says:

      Claudia, “Move with…” I love that. Thanks so much. I am also so glad your home was safe from the Four Mile Fire. Thanks for sending love, and I’m sending some back. Have a peaceful night.

  14. Your messages on the Boulder Media Women listserve alternately brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face, depending on which occurance or emotion you had described so elqouently — with grace, always, and humor when you could muster it. Reading online anthology brings those emotions back again.

  15. I’ve been quietly following your posts on BMW and am thrilled to see them here to be shared. Your writing is stunning. I ache for you, I feel my own losses and healing when I read of yours. Keep moving right on through this. You are amazing.

    • Andi says:

      Thank You Marilyn. Many folks have shared that they’ve had a similar experience in reading the posts, which does my heart good to hear. Take care and thanks for your kind words.

  16. Jerrie Hurd says:

    I’m so glad you’ve got this going as a blog. The world needs to hear your voice. It is a remarkable voice. Carry on . . .
    Kisses, Jerrie

  17. Brenda says:

    Andi, your writing touched an old friend (grief and loss) in my heart. A loss I experienced when I was 15 years old. A devastating loss that is with my at the age of 58 still stirring on each anniversary date which is this December. It is what it is and so it is a part of me.

  18. Andi says:

    Thank you Brenda. I think our losses tenderize our hearts – we are more human because of them. Take good care and thanks for your words.

  19. Brooke says:

    I remember so well the “How are you doing?”s. As a society we don’t know how to respond when someone says something other than “good.” I’ve also heard all kinds of comments about moving on… or “at least you’re ok.” OK?! Are you kidding? I am totally devastated. I don’t ever get to move on. I only get to walk a different path.

    It’s a bit surreal reading what you’re writing because I know so much of the emotional journey, the one no one talks about. I guess the good news is that I can share with you the other side, where you will be two years from now. Never ok with it, but at least finding a new cadence in your life, a life you never expected could be so… different.

    http://lifeafterthefire.com

    • Andi says:

      Thanks so much, Brooke. It’s a real blessing to know you and know that there is light at the end of this very long and tedious tunnel. One day at a time, one hour at a time, for both of us, yes? Sending you hugs, Andi

  20. Wren says:

    “This is the agony and the ecstasy of life under the microscope of loss.” What a gorgeous sentence. Andi I don’t know how you manage to make me laugh and get a tight knot in my throat all in the same piece of writing, but you do each time. “Everyone has their own process, and there‚Äôs no right or wrong for any of us.” You couldn’t be more correct… I wish more people honored grief as the very individual journey it is, instead of assuming it is some series of neatly packed stages. To have friends as our heroes… may be a diamond in the ashes after all. Thank you for opening this window into your heart.

  21. Andi says:

    Hi Wren,

    Thanks so much for your lovely comment about the writing, and sorry it took so long to find it and reply. Not sure how that happened.

    I love what you said about diamonds in the ashes. I feel surrounded by diamonds these days. I pick them up, dust them off, and marvel at how the light catches and dances around and through them. So many gifts.

    Thanks again, and take good care.

    Andi

  22. Julia says:

    Thank you so much for your beautiful writing. So much of what you say rings true with me. What I see now is that your agonizing journey is bringing forth your gorgeous soul. What the pain of loss gives us is a deep connection to who we are, an intimacy that shouldn’t be rushed through. And through that loss we connect with others in ways we wouldn’t if we were “fine”. I look forward to reading more! Thanks again. with love and gratitude, Julia.

  23. Tina Marshall says:

    Hi Andi. I came across your blog when I searched “still miss my house after the fire”. Not sure what I expected. I guess someone to confirm that I could still be sad about my house burning down. Math has never been my strong suit, but I think my fire must have been around the same time as ours, though under different circumstances, in a different corner of the US. We were blessed in that we were able to save many momentos; cursed that those momentos bear the scars of the fire-smoke, soot, water damage. I heard a song tonight that took me to the summer, sitting on our deck, grilling dinner while the kids were in the pool. And it doesn’t matter that the pool’s still there, the deck and house aren’t. And even though we’re about ready to move into the double-wide trailer we put on the property, it’s not my house. And if one more person tells me I’m lucky to have a “brand new house” with “brand new things”, I may end up in jail. I just want my old house back. Bless you. I wish you well.

    • Andi says:

      Hi Tina,
      Thanks so much for writing. Please drop me a note through the contact form, I’d love to chat by email.

      Your last sentences made me chuckle (in that wry, dark way that we fire folks do…) I tell people, “If you know someone whose house burned down, do NOT start ANY sentence with the words, ‘Well, at least…'” At least you didn’t, weren’t, still have… blah blah blah.

      “At least” is such a cop out. Just BE with us, just be with the pain and loss and listen and instead say, “God, that’s really awful. How can I help?” I think that’s all that most of us who are going through great loss want to hear. In my never so humble opinion, only those of us who are experiencing the loss get to say,
      “At least….” and only if and when we’re darn good and ready. And maybe never. So there!

      Please do write – I’d love to hear your story. And take good, good care.

      Andi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *