Learning to heal

The tornadoes that tore through north Alabama and my hometown of Harvest occurred nearly six months ago on April 27. Although the drama was horrific those first 24 hours, the event was not just a day, but a week from hell, with no home and no power. It was a warzone and it affected family and neighbors for miles.

We were numb. Our community came together during those first critical days and weeks and the cleaning up process was therapeutic. But as unprepared as I was for the fear and trauma that happened that night, I feel as challenged by the emotions that are occurring even now.

There is the odd feeling of living in a new house and the strangeness of looking for something that you no longer own. There are pictures on the fridge, which are now my mom’s trophies because they were found miles away and posted online for her to reclaim.

There is that continual concern over the mental well being of everybody else in my family because we are all struggling, coping and working through what happened. We go back to the lot in our neighborhood, which once had 30 homes and now has six in various stages of repair. The others are just gone and the owners unwilling, or unable, to return.

As much as she thinks she can handle a trip through that neighborhood, my mom always cries. The days are fewer when tornadoes are what I think about before bed and first thing when I wake up. That can only be good.