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Malibu Fires / Dealing With Loss

Date Monday - November 4, 2019
Host George Noory
Guests Robert KerbeckDavid Kessler

Award-winning actor and writer, Robert Kerbeck discussed startling information about the 2018 Malibu fires, and why Malibu, despite its affluent population, is still desolate and years from rebuilding. Kerbeck moved to the area in 2000 and was warned by a neighbor that he should buy firefighting equipment. This mystified him, but he did so. When the fire began racing toward his house 18 years later, it was this preparation that resulted in his home being one of the only ones left standing on his street. While he fought the fire, Kerbeck said he was "pelted by embers as big as softballs." The area, he commented, is still "a wasteland."

The fires are whipped up and sustained by a weather phenomenon called the "Santa Ana" winds which descend from the high desert and can even reach "hurricane force" speeds, Kerbeck reported. They can turn a spark into a major conflagration in a matter of minutes. He said that in 1959, there was a serious meltdown of an experimental nuclear facility in the nearby Santa Susanna Pass where another major fire broke out and may have sent "40,000 tons of toxic material" of a radioactive nature into the atmosphere. He says the government authorities have refused to talk about this situation. Kerbeck stated that the frequency and ferocity of the fires over recent years have put California residents in a state of "strange and constant alert."

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David Kessler is one of the world's foremost experts on healing and loss. His experience with people on the edge of life and death has taught him the secrets to living a happy and fulfilled life, even after experiencing tragedies. He discussed his work with Elisabeth K├╝bler Ross identifying the five stages of grief, and why adding a new sixth stage is important for healing and moving on in life after loss. Death is inevitable, but how we deal with it is within our control. Ross was a pioneer in the study of grief and in 1969, proposed what is now a standard view of the five stages of loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Kessler has proposed a sixth stage, which is "meaning." He said we are a "generation that is no longer satisfied with acceptance" and need to find meaning in deep loss.

Kessler believes that we now have so many voices in our minds telling us what and how to feel that we don't take the time to go through the natural grieving process. He said that "we don't know how to stay in that first generation of feelings" and to "turn the commenting mind off." He described an early childhood trauma when his mother was dying in a hospital, and he was not allowed to see her because he was too young, according to the regulations. While this was going on, he also witnessed one of the first mass shootings in the United States. These experiences affected him profoundly and fueled his interest in death and grieving. He concluded with his belief that "grief is what we have inside of us, and mourning is what we have on the outside."

News segment guests: Michael Shedlock, Steve Kates.

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