What wisdom and comfort can I offer from these years behind the front lines?
I’ve been thru so many disasters, and honestly never wanted to be in another one. And COVID is a disaster context so enormous that I never dreamed of.
Practice self care, have gratitude for anything, and manage communications. Disasters are like drinking out of a fire hose. What I see happen in firestorms is people engage til they can’t do it anymore. They step away and many don’t come back. This global scenario doesn’t give us an escape, so self care is EXTREMELY important.
CLASSIC FIRESTORM SCENARIO: Fire destroys a town as persimmons ripen on the trees in September/October. After the fire, those persimmons are the only color left in a black and white landscape that crunches beneath your feet. The people, the birds … everyone is gone. It is quiet and lifeless.
That doesn’t last forever, but it is devastating. The door has closed very definitively on the past, and the new door to the future is yet to be found.
Yet slowly, moment by moment the landscape begins to change with the first rain. The bugs, the mice, the birds slowly emerge… and the starving cats with their burned paws barely mange to find food. But as time passes the trauma begins to be erased as the new possibilities emerge… The people return, clean, rebuild, reconnect and life goes on… in a very different way.
So here we are kitties with burnt paws. The world looks a little weird and the firestorm isn’t over. And unlike firestorms, there is no other community to run to. We are going to have to find strength in us we never knew we had. We will need to chose our community carefully and remember other people are hurting just as much as we are.
As a result of my past firestorm experience I created a platform for RV crowdsourcing to help frontline COVID workers self-isolate after work.
Frontline workers need to protect their families and communities from devastating medical bills and even death, as a consequence of their work obligations. This service can also help recruit and retain frontline workers that might otherwise decline service to avoid risk and burden to their family.
In spite of challenges in my personal life, I gave this effort everything I had to give. We had a working self service platform with great content and a fantastic insurance company with affordable rates.
If it launched it would have been the first platform of it’s kind that would not have gouged consumers with over a $1,000 a month for insurance AND allowed RV owners and borrowers to connect with each other, without needing a case worker to make it happen.
In disasters timing is crucial. By being affordable and scalable, a lot more people can help each other DIRECTLY. I’m sorry I couldn’t get this project to the finish line, but the legacy of what each person gave remains. The platform could be relaunched under a similar context again someday.
Disasters bring out both the best and the worse in us all. It pushes our capacity and by stepping through that experience, it changes each of us in profound ways. I hope to share helpful, unique guidance on this in the future. ~ Good luck with your journey.
Wishing you well, Kimberly
Here’s a video I have shared with firestorm survivors in the past. Perhaps it will help you feel better too about community and about finding your own strength.