Forgive me for writing once again about my personal experience with the fire. It is awfully presumptuous of me considering that there were so many people who had much more difficult and horrendous experiences than I did. This thing was much like a cancer. It touched every life in the North Bay in some manner.
We’ve all heard the stories about the people who survived by spending the night in their swimming pool as the inferno swirled around them; about the people who crossed the only bridge from their isolated community on their tire rims after their tires burned away; about the elderly couple who lost their home of more than 50 years and, sadly, about those who lost more than property — their lives or lives of loved ones.
But, please indulge me just one more time because I honestly don’t know how else to do this. I need to thank all the people who have been so generous, kind and compassionate in the days, and now weeks, following the fire that destroyed my home along with those of so many others.
I need to thank all those who helped, consoled and cared. The problem is that there are so many, and I don’t even know who they all are. It was not that unusual for me to show up at work with a card, often accompanied by a gift card, left anonymously on my desk. To all who offered everything from shoes to hugs. All I can say is thank you.
My only mitigation in once again being so personal with my experience is to quickly point out that I am not alone in offering thank yous to all the wonderful people who stepped up to help all those whose lives were turned upside down on Oct. 9.
I can’t walk down the street without running into someone who offers condolences, and likely as not, those people know some family member or friend who has lost all. Some offering the kind words are victims themselves.
As Thanksgiving approaches, everyone, including most of the fire victims, have much to be thankful for. Of course, those who lost loved ones are in a different realm of hurt. What they lost will hurt forever.
I think I can lend a voice for the majority of those who lost property, and I know I speak for myself when I express my gratitude to the first responders, to all those who offered immediate help at shelters and with much-needed immediate clothes and supplies, to those who took us into their homes and to all those who have provided assistance, support and love in days since.
It seems inadequate, but from all of us, all I can offer is:
(Contact John Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org)