Staying Still Before Moving Forward

I’ve replaced another couple of things – my microphone and my external keyboard.

There are tons of other things we’re nowhere near to replacing, but I keep looking at them and having the same reaction. I have an absolute need for this stuff, but none of it looks like anything I want. Dresses, dining room tables, rugs – none of them are what I want.

Consciously, I’m not even thinking “it’s not like the old one!” Which just tells me that the hurt is still subconscious, and that I’ll need to do a little more mourning for the life I had before I can move forward on rebuilding.

When I think of my house, I feel numb. It’s not all the time. I am still laughing with my friends and taking joy in walking in the park with the dog, etc. I’m excited about planning what the new house will look like, but when I think about the old house and everything in it, there’s just…nothing. No sadness, no sense of loss, no nostalgia. There’s a part of my mind that’s standing at a remove from the whole thing and just observing.

The last time I talked to my psychiatrist, she asked me if I felt guilty about anything, and I told her I wouldn’t know what to feel guilty about. I didn’t start the fire. I don’t think I was particularly reckless, selfish, or stupid when gathering things on short notice to take with us as we evacuated. I don’t even feel guilty about invading my mother’s house and staying here while we get our next steps together.

What I feel guilty about is not feeling sad. Not bemoaning the boxes of family photos in the garage that I never looked at. Not shedding a tear over the new dishes we’d had for about a week. Not even allowing myself to have much curiosity about what might have survived. What does it say about me that the only emotion I have so far is a sense of exhaustion at the enormity of rebuilding? Whatever it says about me, I don’t feel guilty about that either.

One response

  1. Hi Lise. Connie and I have been thinking about you, Stephen and Athena for the past few weeks and I finally found a way to contact you! As the fires took off, I would go to Connie’s and we’d watch the news and any YouTube videos we could find. (We moved to Santa Fe, NM a few years ago.) As you know, we have many clients and friends in the mountains and were so worried about the situation. We kept coming back to talking about you guys and absolutely knew that your house was one of the first to burn. We are simply devastated for you and can not imagine the stress and uncertainty you are all feeling. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. If you would like to contact Connie, she can be reached at or on her cell phone 408-568-8398. Also, when the whole COVID mess is over, you are more than welcome to come visit us in Santa Fe. We’d love to see you!!!
    Much love,
    Robin (and Connie) Goddard

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