As a Slave Lake resident and May 2011 wildfire “victim,” my piece of advice is this: It will be ok, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not in 6 months, but it will be.
What I have learned is that unpredictable, uncontrollable incidents such as a fire, flood, hurricanes, etc. are just as much a crappy part of life as a broken bone, a breakup or even a bad hair day.
Now, three years later, reflecting on the day that felt more like a movie than my life, I can say I am thankful for it. I do not mean thankful as in glad homes were lost, families displaced or that the town was turned upside down, but thankful for the growth it has given me. The strength it has given me.
I am humbled because I lived a nightmare. I am more courageous, independent and hopeful because of the uncertainty and despair of the events and aftermath of that wildfire.
If you take anything away, I hope it is this: everyone has lived through some sort of disaster, no matter how big or small. So accept a helping hand, don’t be ashamed. Pride can sometimes get in the way of healing. Help others as much as you can, it will make you feel better too. This weird, freaky time in your life is not going to last forever so why not let it mold you into a better person? Accept it as an opportunity to change and grow and you will be ok.