My concern for my mother’s things took a turn yesterday when the wildfires in the western North Carolina area grew to 3,000 acres, still with only 15% containment. Not only that, but wildfires are raging for thousands of acres in the surrounding areas: South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia. As of last night the fire was spreading north and west, away from my sister and stepfather, but now towards my best friend of 23 years. For a couple of hours last night it dawned on me that I could lose more of my loved ones, right now. What if the winds change and the fires drift back towards my sister? What if they get so big they reach my best friend? What if they all get trapped and cannot evacuate? Everyone will be leaving at the same time, with only a few different routes and only one or two lanes out of there. I couldn’t help but think if my mom was still alive, they would’ve been out of there days ago. That being said, they have not been told to evacuate yet, so they are safe for now.
I am praying for rain.
One thing that happens to someone like me, someone who’s spent her early life without any big losses, is that we have this belief that we and everyone around us is immortal. We get this idea that we’ll live to be in our 80’s or 90’s, which seems so far in the future we don’t really think about it. But after someone close to us dies, the truth sinks in, that everyone must die someday. I cannot take another big loss right now, so soon after my mother’s passing. But the reality is that I am not immune to suffering another big loss. This kind of thing happens all the time. People lose entire families. We may think, Why me? But really the question is, Why not me?
My boyfriend, thank God, is a survivalist. He has everything one might think of for any emergency situation. This makes me feel safe. On the one hand, I don’t want to live my life in fear. On the other, I would rather be prepared than stranded. With all of the natural disasters that continually hit the globe—most recently an earthquake and subsequent tsunami in New Zealand—it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. In our area, the power can go out for days after a thunderstorm or snowstorm—a minor inconvenience compared to the displacement so many others face when, for example, a tsunami or wildfire hits. After I got stranded in my car for eight hours once in a snowstorm, I know now to pack a bag in my car every winter.
Here are some websites I came across in my search for what kind of supplies to have on hand in case of an emergency:
You can even buy a fully-assembled kit online. I don’t care how crazy it sounds—I would rather be prepared. Also, another brilliant idea just occurred to me. This makes an excellent gift for those of our friends and family who do nothing to prepare. They may not like it at the time, but if disaster strikes, it could save their lives, or at least make their lives easier in the meantime. So for any of my friends and family who may be reading this, I’m sorry to ruin the surprise element of your Christmas.
In the meantime I will try to breathe, pray, and accept whatever happens. Like I said, I don’t want to live in fear, nor encourage others to do the same, but at the same time, please. Be prepared.
Peace and love,