Words of wisdom for fire survivors

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To those who have lost their homes in the 49 Fire: To the people who have faced the devastation of losing more than a house, but a lifetime of memories, of family history and identity. To the people who have woken up today perhaps in a blur, where the events of the last few days are surreal, and the constant well-intentioned clichés from all those around have become a fuzzy murmur. To those who are surrounded by the flurry of the media and longing for some privacy. To those who may be holding it together for the sake of others, but inside are doing everything to keep from breaking down. I understand what you are going through. It was five years ago when I was there myself. I was 17 when my family’s home in Colfax was destroyed, and my heart goes out to all today who are experiencing the same loss. There are a few things I want to say to those who have lost everything: Take time to grieve alone. The community has truly joined hands to help you — and that is wonderful — however, don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t feel like you need to share everything just because someone asks. High-profile tragedies like this naturally necessitate community involvement and sometimes we forget that beneath all the charities, donations, and news interviews lies a very personal heartbreak. My heart hurts to think of what you are going through. I pray for each of you who are in the midst of facing this hardship. I hope that you find the strength, or perhaps, the weakness to grieve your immense loss. Carly Gelsinger, Roseville