In 2016, the huge Soberanes fire on the Monterey Peninsula became the most expensive wildfire in American history. In this archived Perspective, Stan Goldberg faced the destruction of a family cabin by reflecting on the meaning of memory and loss.
As the Soberanes fire in Carmel threatens the Monterey peninsula, our cabin may become a charred monument to quiet weekends, solitude, and cherished family gatherings.
I’m told it’s roaring through canyons with heat that melts metal. As I prepared to retrieve treasured objects, I learned the road to the cabin is closed and mandatory evacuations are in effect.
For days I watched dramatic pictures of the fire on Facebook, juxtaposed to families celebrating and people describing their breakfast.
In my hospice work, I shared the pain of relatives who couldn’t stop the death of a loved one. They could only witness the event. Their helplessness is what I’m experiencing now. The destruction of the cabin and it’s contents will be inconsequential compared to the loss of a loved one. But how do I deal with losing something so treasured just the words, “our cabin,” causes me to smile? I’ll do it through memories.