I am recovering. My children are all suffering differently, but are recovering. This month, we are preparing to return to Paradise for the anniversary of our drive through, what we locals have begun calling, the tunnel. I drove through a tunnel of fire with 4 children and 8 dogs. It has been almost a year and even though I have had many traumas in my life, this one is still taking more time than I would like for each step in the process.
I wish I had known what the process of trauma was a year ago. I had an outdated picture that was the grief process of death and only took one year. When I look at this graph, I realize I am in the disillusionment phase. Just after we escaped, I thought the feelings of the Heroic and Honeymoon phase meant that I had been successful at not suffering PTSD. However, I know realize I was wrong. It took a visit to the emergency room to wake me up to the reality that recovery will take longer than I would like.
This diagram tells me we are doing better than I thought last week. I believe last week was the low point. I had hoped that by taking the kids back to Paradise in April, they too had recovered. Alas, they still suffer. As a catholic, I know suffering is not bad. It does not mean we did anything wrong. Nevertheless, we are still in the process of recovery. We are not all there. We are still building a house, making an effort to rebuild community, are plaintiffs in a lawsuit, are under-insured, and fighting for every bit we can get out of the resources we have.