A lot happened this week. We finally heard from Evans Management that residents of Journey’s End Mobile Home Park would be given access to retrieve personal property. My husband made the long schlep again from L.A. to North Bay, 474 miles. His mother went with him to get as much as they could take in the car, and put things into storage until we have a place to live. We were supposed to have five days, November 1st to 5th, from 8am to 4pm, but on Friday morning, the park was shut down by the EPA because of hazardous materials–including asbestos! The park is now officially condemned.*
[*Update: “Condemned” status is short-term. Authorities stated in a meeting yesterday with Journey’s End residents that test results are expected Wednesday. So we are in still in limbo.]
That is both good news and bad news. For those of us who have been in limbo because our property is still standing, but the conditions were unlivable (due to no utilities and surrounded by toxic waste), it was a welcome relief because as far as insurance was concerned, our homes could be salvaged. Now, word on the street is that the EPA is not going to let anyone take anything else out of the park, to minimize the spread of contamination. That means we cannot have our homes towed to another site, which means in essence, the fire destroyed our homes through cross contamination. This should mean that the insurance company should payout as a total loss. We still do not have confirmation that they will see it this way, but at least we have a case–if they do not treat our homes as destroyed, we can appeal their decision and get a judge’s opinion. One thing is certain: We can all stop looking for a place to move our homes. Those contaminated homes are not going anywhere!
This is bad news for our uninsured neighbor, Louise, and those like her who could not afford homeowners insurance. For them, it is all loss. The silver lining for her is that she had a chance to save some of her favorite things, and she has family to help her cope with the trauma of losing her community of 37 years.
Resilience means focusing on those silver linings. The total destruction of stuff gives one a blank canvas. The altering experience of waking in the middle of the night to imminent danger gives one fresh perspective. We take the blank canvas and newfound appreciation and with tremendous gratitude create a new home.
Such experiences strengthen our bonds with family, friends, and co-workers. Feeling loved and supported transforms all involved. Relationships, as everyone knows, are most important, and disasters have a way of growing trust and admiration, whether directly or vicariously impacted. It has made us all think and feel about what matters most. We have all hugged more, been more gentle with ourselves and others, and have felt more thankful for life’s simple pleasures.