Dorothea Foerster is a Fellowship Co-worker who lived in Pine Lodge. In an interview she shares her experience of the fire, and finding meaning through the experiences it has brought to her and to the entire Fellowship Community.
What was your experience before and during the fire at Pine Lodge?
I was away when the fire broke out. I was sitting on the banks of the Hudson river with a friend and my phone was turned off. On return to the car a couple of messages arrived, but it took me a bit to make sense of them.
And then, in the flesh I knew that everything in Pine Lodge would be destroyed. For me, I lost everything in that moment. I wonder if dying feels a bit like this - having to let go of everything.
Co-worker Dorothea (left) with a beloved elder member at the beach.
What personal belongings will you miss the most?
The first things I thought about were my passport and personal documents - mostly because of all the time and energy it would take to get them replaced. They mysteriously survived the fire!
Now, I sometimes miss some of my more special and beautiful scarves or specific pieces of clothing. But mostly I miss my wonderful latex mattress. Interestingly, I don’t miss my photos much, I’m just really sad that all the beautiful things in Pine Lodge and in my apartment are now destroyed and distorted.
How has being displaced from your home affected you?
I lived under the roof on the top floor of Pine Lodge and loved my little apartment. It overlooked the parking lot and Hilltop house. I loved to hear the rain on the roof. It will be wonderful to live in the new building under the roof again one day.
Luckily, I was offered a lovely place to stay, just a nice room in walking distance to Hilltop House.
Still, being displaced is unsettling and it made me feel quite vulnerable. Currently, I am very reluctant to accumulate too many new things and am happy to have only the bare minimum.
How else has the fire affected you?
For now, I ask myself what it is that we can and need to do spiritually and otherwise above and beyond raising a lot of money to rebuild Pine Lodge. I find myself wondering, "What is this fire asking of us?"
What role or roles do you have in the community?
Since I’m involved in the financial aspect of things here at the Fellowship Community, I get to see the process of adjustment to this new situation from a special vantage point.
What are you hopes, wishes, and vision for the future?
The biggest question is: How are we going to pay for the new Pine Lodge building?
I can see a state of the art green building befitting the needs of the next generation of members. Will we find all the people that are needed to help us in this task?
How would you ask someone to help us with this project to rebuild Pine Lodge?
Dear friends, please help us with your donations! Please also help us by spreading the word, by becoming ambassadors of this huge endeavor. It is together and only together that we can build community for the future.
You can support all of the seniors who lost their homes in the fire at Pine Lodge by clicking here.
Learn more at fellowshipcommunity.org.
And use the hashtag #RebuildPineLodge
Your support makes all the difference.