Wednesday, December 19, 2018

An open letter to our insurance adjustors

Dear insurance adjustor,

Please stop telling me that inventorying my belongings will be easy and that it will only take a couple of hours.

My shell shocked brain has tried to do this repeatedly over the last several weeks.  I have stopped and started and deleted and started over a dozen times.

I realize it's in your best interest to rush me through and make me forget half the things I had, before cutting me off.

But for me this is both closure and torture.  And it is NOT the bloody cast iron pans and and 3 bloody sets of dishes from every time we changed the color of the kitchen that is tripping me up, nor the model of the fridge.

It's not even the bubble VCR tapes of what felt like every Disney video in existence.  Big collectibles, but they were just bought to appease my growing daughter. 

It's not even, though it does make me tremble slightly, the leather bound complete hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy, out of print now. Or the original, unmodified, untouched star wars trilogy from before Lucas went back and fuc... Er.. touched it up.

It's the first edition paperbacks of the entire Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently series that I bought new as they came out, starting in junior high school. 

It's the edition of Illusions that my father bought me at 14.  And Das Energi.  And Ishmael.  Its the books my grandmother, long deceased, handed down to me. 

It's the sandstone with a quartz inclusion I have used as a bookend for 30 years and the memories of that trip to the Grand Canyon.

It's the star wars trading cards I lovingly swapped and collected from elementary school on, then cheerfully finished up the missing ones as an adult with disposable income and ALL the memories attached.

And it's the completely irreplaceable things... The necklace with my Dad's ashes.  My Dad's ashes.  My daughter's baby teeth.  Cards and letters and original artwork and poems gifted over the years by my many talented friends.

My own decades of writing that had never quite been transcribed to the computer age. 

You see, 50% maybe, of my losses were utilitarian.  EVERYTHING else has memories attached.

I haven't set up an appointment for you to try and rush me through this because after the PTSD and shock wore off, and while I've been trying to find some place to live, what with my town burning down, they finally opened up to let us go stare at the soggy ashes of what once was Our. Entire. Lives.

That was a bit jarring and emotionally exhausting.

So the next time you find yourself talking to someone who's lost everything, do me a favor.  As the words, "it will only take a couple of hours" begin to roll off the tongue or the fingers, stop yourself.  Completely.  And then say, "it will take a minimum of a couple of hours... Up to however long you need.  Because I know and understand that you. Lost. It. All.  And I know that takes time to describe.  And I'm here for you."

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