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Today is the anniversary of one of the largest nightclub fires in the US - I was 16 and lived just a block or so away, both from the club and from the makeshift morgue they created to hold all the dead. I knew and had worked with both the coroner and deputy coroner in projects connected to the city before the fire; although I wasn't there that night, I knew a lot of people who were and it was the single, most intense memory I have from that time.

I had flashbacks for a very long time after - black plastic bags were the worst - and continue to struggle with sirens. I have never had such immediate and bothersome reactions to anything else; with anything more than just a single, brief siren, I'm that kind of anxious where you can feel your heart pounding and your extremities tingling and I always end up in tears.

I still count people in a restaurant or small store to make sure they are not over-capacity. This fire is what prompted the laws about that and I have always been amazed at the flippant disregard businesses have for them. Even in school, shortly after the fire, we had a drill (but we didn't know that it was a drill at the time) and our biology teacher instructed us to clean up our stations before leaving. (I reported her then she locked everyone in a freezer while she lectured us on how disappointed she was in us).

Hard day.
I also have a lot of guilt about how I reacted to this. Happened 43 years ago.

^I'm sure you've explored this with your T a lot and I don't wish to presume.

Guilt is such a big emotion and you're right, it can endure almost as fresh from the first day it was invoked.

Have you asked yourself what the guilt serves? There might be something there to unpack with that?

Understanding that you are a civilian equipped with neither the skills or the authority to run into that situation must come before all other considerations.

Not being there was a gift from God, the Universe or lady luck.

Do you suffer from survivor guilt - is that what you mean?
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