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Monday
May162011

Heartsickness

I had an entire week of silliness planned for my blog (because often what I post is just plain silly) after taking last week off to spend quality time with my husband after not laying eyes on him for 54 days.

Humour is what gets me through the darkest patches of my life, when my throat constricts from the pain of remembering I've lost a child or when life seems too overwhelming from raising a medically fragile disabled child, or from simply wanting to lose my mind from parenting three children by myself.

A dumb joke, even one written by me, helps lift the heaviness of life from my shoulders.

But I can't find the funny today. It evaporated into the sky filled with smoke as my province is ablaze with forest fires.

As of this morning there were 116 forest fires in Alberta, with 34 of them raging out of control. An entire town was destroyed when an out of control blaze split in two, circled the town and burned everything in it's path, destroying most of it's infrastructure.

Grabbed from Twitter, Photo Credit Chantal Tkatch


Not too far away, thousands of oil workers were evacuated from their temporary camps due to another blaze threatening to swallow everything in its path.

My husband said the sky outside his window looks like a tribute to Halloween, all orange and black.

Natural disasters threaten human life almost every day. Japan, America, Canada and every other country on the planet at some time or another sees tornados, flooding, drought, tsunamis, fire, ice storms and everything else Mother Nature can think to throw at us. Those of us who are lucky are insulated from it, safe in our homes as we watch with horror the images flashing across our television screens, thankful it's not us being evacuated or endangered due to disasters.

But this disaster, these fires, they are touching my life. Directly and indirectly. While my home, where my children and I reside is far from the path of the flames and safely out of danger, my friends' homes aren't so lucky. My readers' homes aren't so lucky. Relatives of mine have lost everything.

Photo credit: Michael Leonard / MyNews.CTV.ca


An entire town incinerated within hours, with no warning because the wind carried the flames at 100 kilometers an hour.

It could have been my house.

It could be yours.

So I'm taking this moment to think of the people who are affected by natural disasters everywhere, not just here in Alberta, but elsewhere too and I'm remembering how lucky I am when so many others are not.

Tomorrow I'll be silly. Today I'm too heartsick to find the funny.

*For Information on loved ones in Slave lake call the Red Cross at 1-800-565-4483. For those who want to donate to the relief efforts head here.*
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Reader Comments (68)

Tanis, I'm so glad you and your family are safe but very sorry for what you, your loved ones and your community are going through.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie Smirnov

Wow....that photo of the town is truly devastating.

I've been through a fire where we lost almost everything and it is a painful process so I always feel for people going through things like this.

Glad to hear that you and your family are safe and I'm hoping and praying for rain there soon!

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterC.C. Chapman

Oh, my, I am sorry. I haven't seen anything on our news about these fires. We have the news about the flooding in LA, the tornadoes, etc. Please keep us posted about your friends. Praying for all of you.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Goossen

The photo of the town made me weep. The town I grew up in is the same size as Slave Lake. Can't. Even. Fathom. A whole town just being gone. THOUSANDS of lives ripped at the seams in the matter of a few hours.

Yes, Mother Nature, you are in charge. Can you please let up now? We get it.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJacki

Thinking of everyone who has been, and will be affected by these massive fires. The aerial photo is like nothing I've ever seen before - fire leaves a very unique footprint on properties, and on hearts.

I am praying for all of you.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTam

friends of mine have been affected by the fires. So tragic. Not only have I donated a truck load (literally) of baby clothes, supplies, etc. But I also opened my doors/spare rooms to anyone needing refuge.
I wish to do more, and hope to see more people pull together to help those in need.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commentershawn

My friend Carmel's parents and sister and her sister's family have all had to flee with nothing but the clothes on their backs. I am so thankful that they are safe now, but I cannot imagine the devastation of losing your entire community. I don't think the impact of this has hit anyone fully yet.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie

I'm so sorry to hear of this. It sounds so wretched. My prayers are with you and your fellow Canadians.

Damn that's a good post. I'm feeling very much the same.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertricotmiss

That picture is truly unbelievable. It seems like the earth is just screaming at us lately- we don't have time to recover from one natural disaster before the next one hits. I can only hope that we don't get so desensitized to these overwhelming images that we stop reaching out to help.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterget going girly

Tragedy strikes everywhere, but really hits home when it is SO close to home. We are all doing what we can to help the evacuees from the towns and camps and appreciate every bit of help/donations and prayers along the way. Thanks for a great post.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNatasha

That is just incredible! My thoughts & prayers are with those effected by this devastation.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKara

OMG! Here in Minnesota we've had too much rain. Way too much. I wish I could have all of our rain diverted to where the fires are and put them out. I'm going to the Red Cross website right now to give. Thanks for the post!

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNordic Girl 2

So sorry for all the loss, because like what we experienced here in Alabama, the landscape will never be the same in your beautiful Alberta. I still can't get my head wrapped around what we had 3 weeks ago to write about it. I start crying watching the news still. I am only lifted by seeing and hearing the amazing stories of those that are bringing aid to the many who lost so much. I hope you start seeing/hearing the same very soon because it's too easy to get lost in the bad. Much love and prayers.

I am so sorry to hear of this :( It does seem like weather has done us in lately. I live in Florida and used to work in insurance so I am more than well aware of how awful this is. In the end it's the people who are important, not the stuff, but that can be pretty hard to accept when you've lost everything.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

I could not imagine what you and your loved ones are going through. I have been through my share of Hurricanes and wild fires but each time it is different and each experience is different. My thoughts are with you all and please be safe.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKrystal

Having just come through the Northern Alabama tornadoes I can understand the sick feeling in your stomach. I am glad you and your family are safe. We must TRY and remember that the lives are what is most important and that the rest is just STUFF and to some extent can be replaced. Prayers and donations heading to Canada for all affected by this awful devastation.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJo Anne

I only heard about this through your blog, so thank you for writing this post. I'm very broke right now, but I dropped a buck in the jar. My thoughts are with those affected by the fires...

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKit

Be safe, I am so sorry about your family and loved ones and everyone else. This is just so heartbreaking. Words fail.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBobbi

oh Tanis how sorry i am to hear the devestating news of your fires,as an australian i have experienced bush fires first hand & fully understand the stress & helpless feelings that come with these raging inferno's.To all your fellow Canadians that are sufferring through this terrible time stay safe,lend a hand or donate a dollar to the families that have lost everything & remember it's just stuff leave it behind & get out if you are in a danger zone....

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterj9

My heart hurts for those who are directly and indirectly affected by the fires. I wish could do more than donate money, it's so hard for me to watch from afar. I don't feel very silly today either.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKrista G

I put off reading this post for a few hours ... I knew that you were going to make me cry, and you did. My brain cannot comprehend how something like this must feel to those going through it. Or their families, for that matter. Hearing about it happening in another country is never the same as when you see it in your own. One is not easier than the other, but there is an added dimension of familiarity when it happens so relatively close to home. My heart goes out to you and your family, and all the families affected.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie in Toronto

I hate to see most of the ones that are safe from these disasters watch the news footage and just say awesome,cool, or something else to that effect. They fail to think of all the people that lose so much during all the tragedy. Yes, the power of mother nature can be awesome, but not in the way it is viewed by some.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeith

You are so right. We all need to take time to be thankful and to sent good to those affected by tragedy.

Thank you.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCharles

Triggers for the reawakening of our gratitude come in so many shapes. I am so sorry for the many, many families impacted by this. I am also grateful that I have this rowdy, passionate blonde virtual friend that keeps me aware of my blessings. Even when silly, you are having an effect.

Thank you.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

What a year 2011 has been already....so sad and so many people dealing with tragedy. It seems when it rains, it pours.....my heart goes out to each and every one of these people!

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi S.

I had no idea that things were so bad in Alberta. This weather, this year, is insane. I hope things stay well with you - and I will pray for those of yours who have been affected.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlceel

It's so devastating. Of course I donated - wish I could do more.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Sugarpants

I have been waiting for you RDM and here you are with a reminder of how blessed I am.
My city is so far away from these fires that it is hard for me to grasp, but a medic friend of mine is on a rig in Swan waiting to see if they will be evacuated too.
Thanks for the wake up.
Please remember, everyone, that blankets, towels, diapers and baby food are some of the most important items for the emergency shelters right now.
Good luck and keep safe.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersupermommy

How awful. Glad y'all are okay. Wish everyone around were.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMuskrat

How inconceivably sad! I'm from Alabama and a group put an Amazon Wish List online to get Tornado relief supplies sent to a non profit. Maybe some group addressing the needs of this community can do the same. Makes it easy to help in the way most needed.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCanCan

SO awful, it hurts to even look at the pictures. In our own backyard...

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLoukia

yes I agree insconsevable....I've been glued to the tv all day as I lived up in that reagion for many years....utter destruction and complete loss some have lost thier homes,thier work places, pets, campers, boats.....everything.....They won't have a job or home to go to for many months.....but you know they are also grateful that there was no loss of life amazing creatures human prove over and over again...able to feel grateful at a time like this and to also see such hearfelt human concern from everyone with donations.....people are offering spare bedrooms all over the province, camping spots.....its amazing I am saddened today but also very proud to be an albertan!!! I hope it all can get under control soon and these darn winds will quite already.....what a scary scary time for all

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermycrazylife

Fire danger is really frightening. I never thought much about it until we moved out here.

Thanks for the reminder to be grateful for what we've got. Always a good one.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Marsh

My thoughts and love go out to all the affected families in this terrible time. Very scary stuff :(

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRedneck Princess

I didn't know there were fires up there also. We've lost so much to fires down here in Texas and they say it will get worse because of the drougth (spell?). I'll pray for you all if you all will pray for us!

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSal's Girl

that sky, I will never EVER forget that sky. Raining down ash...

I totally get this babe, and I wish I could give you a big squeeze.

And a day off.

x

Thank you so very much for bringing US ALL together with such a powerful post....

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I cry.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

So horrible and heartbreaking. We live in Black Forest in very dry, high danger Colorado. Fires are devastating. I also want to point out that it's imperative for families to have food, water, and shelter on hand in times of natural disasters. In the case of fire, a 72 hour "bug out" bag with survival supplies can make all the difference in a case where you have to evacuate your home.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSheryl

My heart breaks for them as well. I pray that they find the strength to pick up and keep moving.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermapsgirl

I to have friends that have lost everything thank for putting this out in the the internet

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

Very sad...hadn't heard about this on the news as of yet. Seems our news talks about every other country but yours..and your the closest! Damn North Dakota! Praying for all those involved that have lost and are working so others don't.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

My community just recently suffered losses due to a wildfire. To date this year there have been 9 wildfires in and around our town. Currently one of the largest burning in the US is burning near us. So I can understand what those communities are facing.

My husband is a wildland firefighter and has been out on the fire lines fighting these wildfires nonstop since March.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDayna

So incredibly sad for all of these families. The pictures I am sure don't even begin to tell the awful story. Bless the families who have lost everything and the firefighters putting their lives on the line. PS.Tanis what does your husband do?

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

Is there a relief effort specifically for this that we can donate to? I was shocked it wasn't even mentioned on the news last night.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTova

So sorry to hear of this. When you told me your husband was in the thick of this on Twitter, I was very frustrated that this didn't make the "news".

People need to be able to reach out and help. If you hadn't brought this to my attention, I would've never known. :(

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

That is devastating. It truly can be any of us. My heart goes out to everyone.

I cannot imagine watching a fire sweep in and wipeout your whole life in a matter of minutes. The shock must be overwhelming.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Sometimes you just have to think about how lucky you are. Or cry your eyes out. Or both. Recently I've been having trouble using humor and other things to distract myself and have had big crying jags over, primarily, abandoned/abused animals. However, I had a belated one the other day over Haiti.

Here's hoping you can find the funny again soon, but sometimes there's just no finding it. I'm so sorry this is touching your life, but like you say - so sad for all the others in the world suffering too. People and non-people alike.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

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