I live in Colorado Springs. Within the past two years this area has been beset by two major wildfires and a 100 year flood. Over 500 homes in Black Forest and 360 the year before in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood were burned to the ground. The flooding in the Boulder area destroyed many hundreds of family homes. Pets died, trees were destroyed, and thousands of families’ lives were disrupted from being evacuated or from losing nearly all of their possessions. Other regions are familiar with hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes. Losing a loved one due to illness or accidents can devastate one’s life. Losing a job is also a personal disaster for many, especially in this climate of structural unemployment which means many people, especially over 40, may never reenter the workforce.
Personal disasters are clearly a part of life that can happen to anyone. How we survive—when we do—can mean so many things and takes different forms with different people. Whole generations may become ‘defined’ by a a tragic disaster, like the Holocaust or the Great Depression in my parents’ generations. I remember walking into a class I was to teach in Colorado Springs one fateful Tuesday afternoon. Only half the students were present; the rest were in shock. The Columbine shootings in Littleton, Colorado, had just transpired that day. Pivotal moments like this or like the 2001 terrorist attack can warp or bend the very fabric of our collective reality.
This week’s blog topic is Surviving Disasters. I invite and welcome all of your insights and stories. If you have a reflective poem or an idea or feeling you have written on a napkin, feel free to share it here as a guest blog or as a Story of the Week. Please let others in your circles know they are welcome to share their stories or insights, too.
Better Endings with regard to surviving disasters might remain bitter endings, of course. Different people approach these experiences in their own ways. An author, Gay Becker, wrote a book called Disrupted Lives, based on interviewing many disaster survivors. Becker found that however we do respond when we face or survive a disaster, we do so in a meaningful way, as humans. We construct meaning from our experiences; we learn valuable Life Lessons. What we take away and take forward we can use to help others or to redirect our own lives.
Thanks for reading Better Endings. I do hope you feel free to participate and communicate in any manner here, if you might feel moved to share your own perspective or experience. Or if not, I hope you might benefit from the stories shared in your own way.
Better Endings to You! — Linda