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My parents lost the home of 40 years in a fire. My mom got out with the clothes on her back and that is it. My father is ok but keeps going through the burnt house retrieving as much as he can. My father has tried to recover beds that have been scorched in the fire and thinks this is ok. I am worried about their mental state.

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Loss is loss. The more important something or someone is to us - the greater our grief. Allow them to grieve. Help them realize that even though the physical things may be damaged or gone - our memories of them are with us always.

I appreciated'OneMoreDay's comment "The mementos were just souvenirs of the journey which is your life. The journey did not go away, only the souvenirs."
But, even knowing that deep in our souls doesn't always take the pain, feelings of loss and sorrow away immediately. Give them time. I hope they choose to rebuild and live in the present again.
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How old are your parents, as I see you say "elderly"? My next question is how did the fire start? Are they living on their own now? I am concerned for their OVERALL care.
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Hello Almonzow,

I lost my home to a total-loss-fire twelve years ago and some days it still hits me. I was only 45 at that time and although I was grateful that my husband was safe, I lost my beloved Golden Retriever and our African Gray parrot. Everything else was "just stuff" or at least that's what I kept telling myself but I went to a therapist recently and realized that the fire has triggered long-standing PTSD from a previous (long ago) trauma. There is that possibility with anyone experiencing anything as traumatic as a house fire.

I remember feeling that my entire life had been taken away with all the mementos and photos and projects that I had lost. The most helpful words my therapist said to me were, "The mementos were just souvenirs of the journey which is your life. The journey did not go away, only the souvenirs." That helped put things in perspective and I have begun healing...finally.

Hope your parents are able to gain some perspective and peace after such a horrific experience.
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Disasters like this are hard at any age. Searching to try to retrieve pieces of things they once had is natural for people that have gone through it. It may be particularly hard for older people, who feel that they don't have enough time to rebuild. Where are they living now? Do they plan to rebuild? Will the insurance be enough to cover rebuilding and replacing of contents? Your parents probably still have plenty of time, so the grief over what they lost will probably start to lessen as they rebuild. If they are religious, they may feel better knowing that these things happen to make room for even better things. I know they lost so many memories, so I feel sad for them. But they have time to build more memories. I hope they do not grieve long.
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