Impact of a Disaster

Image from Huffington Post
The tornadoes that blew through the Southeast in April had an impact on so many lives. Many lives have since returned back to normal, while others’ lives will never be the same. A week after our storm in North Carolina, a ferocious and deadly tornado hit Alabama and left terrible devastation. 

The photos of the images of destruction there are haunting.  It makes me realize that we were the fortunate ones.  Our lives have returned back to normal. 

Photo of our backyard damage on April 16, 2011

Our debris is gone, and the last piece of the puzzle to make our yard picture perfect is now in place.  My son watched patiently all day last week as a new swing set was installed in our backyard.  His smashed and twisted one was carted away, but the memory of why his swing set was destroyed will be a memory that probably won’t be forgotten.

Surprisingly, I’ve heard my son play “tornado” quite often in the past month.  He has told his sister to go hide in the closet.  (Luckily, I’ve been nearby so that I know that my 18-month-old is not trapped in a closet somewhere most of the day), and he has even made my mom the ghostwriter for an adventure-type story he dictates word for word.  I’ve been hearing his new novel while I do my own writing in the next room.  His story is very similar to his favorite chapter book, “Magic Tree House.”  Just like Jack and Annie’s adventures, my son and his sister have their own adventure.  His story is called “The Tornado!”

I don’t think I realized how much impact the storm had on him until I saw him as he watched workers install his new play structure.  My husband and I were so thankful that our home was not damaged that we didn’t even think to realize that my son had missed the way his yard used to be, and the time he spent playing in the yard.  In hindsight, I realize he was impacted the most in our family by this storm.  He told me that evening as he hugged me good night that “he was sad when his play set was destroyed, but that today was a happy day!”
Our new playset
I went downstairs and pondered his remark while I cleaned up the dishes from dinner.   The more I wiped the countertops, the more I thought about all the younger victims from these tornados in the Southeast.  I couldn’t get them out of mind. My sister-in-law told me that a child in her daughter’s class has no possessions now.  Many children no longer have homes.  They’ve lost their toys, their luvies, their beds, and their clothes.  Many are living in hotels.  Unlike my son, today is probably still not a happy day.

Putting their lives back together will take some time, but we can help with our donations to put some normalcy back in their lives, and perhaps give them something to call their own again.  

Disaster relief agencies still need donations.  Sometimes when the cleanup begins, and it’s been a while since the storm, we forget that agencies still need donations.  The American Red Cross and Samaritan's Purse are good places to start.  They are working to help families in need, and that NEED is great.   Together, we may be able to make a day a little brighter for a child impacted by these storms.

This post originally appeared on the Raleigh News and Observer's Triangle Mom2Mom website on Sunday, May 15, 2011.

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