Here are some thoughts from other survivors about what helped them in the early weeks and months after the loss of their firefighters: (Note: Dates indicate the year of the firefighter's death.)
Take care of yourself.
Try to get as much rest as you can, and eat well even when you don't feel hungry.
If I didn't want to do something, I didn't. I learned to say NO, which made a world of difference to me.
Find a focus.
I focused on my son's life-the fact that he lived his life the way he wanted and didn't worry about anything.
We made lists and did things one step at a time. As they say, baby steps. Each step brings us closer to the end of the day. And that was all I could handle. Just one day at a time.
Find outlets for your grief.
The most important thing I did was to begin a journal to my son. Included were my anger, my pain, and many, many whys. After more than 20 years, there are still days I jot something down.
I spent a month putting together memory books about my husband's life for each of our children. I did a book for myself and included cutouts from the sympathy cards I received. In my case, it was healing. I still get that album out and add to it.
Seek and accept help.
Take people up on their offers of assistance. One of the greatest things was having someone fix a meal, mow the lawn, fix the leaky faucets, or just come by and check on us.
I didn't think I needed a grief support group, but it ended up being such a help. It gives you a safe place to cry, to talk about your loved one, to voice confusing feelings, and to find out you are not crazy or alone.
Take whatever time and space you need.
You have to know yourself and honor your feelings, no matter how long it takes. Everyone wants to rush you along and get you back to the person you had been, but it will never be the same. You must create a new life.
I wish I had told my family and friends that I needed some space. I really needed privacy to come to grips with what had happened.
Know that you will begin to feel better in time.
I must be healing, because I can talk about my husband without tears running down my face. Not every day is great, but they aren't as bad as they were a year ago.
Returning home from my first grief counseling session, I had a glimmer of hope, a reprieve from the darkness, a realization that I would make it.