I read a study the other day that looked at post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in flood victims. The study observed the long term effects on residents of a flood in Poland in 1997. I was struck by the similarities between that flood and the floods here in Alberta – a sudden and huge water level rise; lack of adequate alert time; little or no time to deploy preventive measures; the permanence of disruptions and the lack of social and psychological support. Little or no financial compensation from any source was also a factor, and I expect that may be a reality for many of the residents of Hidden Valley too.
Now, I’m not going to make light of this, because I think it is important for each and every one of us to think about why we might be feeling the way we are today, and understand why we might still be feeling ‘off’ years from now if we don’t actively seek solutions.
We didn’t just lose our cabins or homes – we lost our community and all the things that meant. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the majority of flood victims in Alberta will eventually return to their communities. The residents of Hidden Valley will not.
I’m only mentioning all this because The Car Guy and I have been on this roller coaster ride of loss and adjustment for almost a year now. The loss of his Harley in the accident was the least of the issues we are still trying to come to terms with. The loss of the cabin, with no option to move it, or rescue much in the way of contents, is not a welcome diversion. But in relative terms, we are far more fortunate than a high percentage of the other people in Hidden Valley. I know that, and I send my best to all who have lost far more than I have.
People respond to situations like this in different ways. Some, like me, seek ways to laugh because eventually crying isn’t as helpful. Hidden Valley people are starting to replace their confusion and frustration with humour. One of the Hidden Valley residents posted this on Facebook: “I can’t remember how to hang out in my community. Is it wrong to walk around with a beer?”
I’m sure many others are finding ways to express what they are feeling in a way that makes others smile. If you hear of any, please let me know in the comments below!
Today would have been our Canada Day Parade at Hidden Valley. Here are a few pictures of parades from previous years:
Happy Canada Day Week-end to one and all from my Hidden Valley Cabin on Lots 319/320. Have a great holiday, wherever you are all!