After Disasters: Milestones and Holidays

It hurts to have our lives turned upside down. The holidays are going to make the pain a bit sharper and tempers shorter.

Our belongings and all the memories they represent – in a big soggy pile – is going to be the standout 2017 memory for many of our neighbors.

That raggedy tree topper you’ve had since your grown child was born is somewhere in a landfill.

You find yourself halfheartedly putting up a tree and kind of pissed off while you’re doing it. You light the menorah with something less that your usual enthusiasm. Sort of “whatever”.

We tell ourselves it’s only stuff. But many items are tiny mirrors. We see our lives through these treasures. Each year we drag out the decorations and the dishes, items and food no one outside the tribe can possibly fully appreciate.

Part of holiday joy is reliving good memories. Revisiting past celebrations. For many of our neighbors, it will be much harder this year. They’re broke. And tired.

For the lucky unaffected or fully recovered – please treat those who are still struggling with patience. You can’t immediately see that they’re not at their best. Their insides and outsides may not match.

At every milestone after a disaster: there will be gratitude and grief in equal measure.