Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘Natural Disasters’

Irreplaceable Loss

Around the world we are watching the effects of the devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. To date, 24 people have lost their lives. Natural disasters are frighteningly unpredictable and may cause us to feel uncertain, vulnerable even fearful of tomorrow.

We don’t understand why things of this magnitude happen and why one life is spared and another lost. What can we do to regain our emotional balance and continue on with our lives? Of equal importance, what can we do to help others?

Many times contributing to a reputable assistance fund to aid the victims allows us to feel that we are doing something, however small, to offer a measure of comfort and support. Possessions can, over time, be replaced and are merely things, commodities that seemed important at a point in our lives.

The irreplaceable loss, of course, are the human lives. The deaths of those 24 people will leave a gaping hole in the hearts of their family members who must face tomorrow without them. For those of us who have experienced the loss of a loved one, we know the lives of those left behind will be changed forever. We also remember the importance of taking the time to connect with someone who has experienced a loss. We need not worry about what to say for words, oftentimes, are unnecessary. Our energy and concern for the grieving soul can offer strength to them. Simply listening to them as they talk about their loved one can be a lifeline. It helps keep their loved ones alive in their minds as they talk about them and remember….

Every person grieves on their own timeframe. What we do know is that the stages of grief are painfully predictable. Denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance are real emotional hurdles – mountains even, that we must overcome when we have lost a loved one. It will take a great deal of time before the survivors will be able to first crawl, then more slowly stand and regain their footing. Initially, they may question what they could have or should have done to prevent their loved ones’ death. Over time, they arrive at an acceptance that they were powerless to prevent the loss and, as cruel as it may sound, “All is as it should be.” They will never forget their loved one that is physically gone but will gradually begin to rely on the loving memories as salve for their wounded hearts. Losing a loved one has a way of humbling all of us – bringing us to our knees with gut wrenching pain.

Eventually, loss causes us to reexamine the importance of our priorities in life and we place greater value on our relationships with friends and family. Whatever moments we have left become even more purposeful and significant.

Let’s remember the adage, ‘Live each moment to the fullest.’ As witnessed in Moore, tomorrow is shockingly, painfully uncertain. The only thing we do have for certain is this moment – right here – right now in which to make a difference.

Thanks for reading!

Tragic Events

When unforeseen and tragic events happen such as Hurricane Sandy we wonder why. People have lost their lives, their homes and belongings and some are struggling just to find drinking water. The feelings of helplessness and fear affect all of us. These natural disasters are humbling. We realize how tenuous life is in general. As we strive to accept and make sense of everything, the belief surfaces that we are spiritual beings in a physical body and our bodies do have an expiration date.

We know, of course, that there really is a thing called climate change. In all areas of the country we are seeing an intensification of the normal weather conditions. The scientific evidence is apparent. Yet, we still wonder why and think,to ourselves, how could this have happened?

As I watched the 12 plus feet of water rushing into areas of New Jersey and New York, I just kept thinking that there are so many things beyond our control, beyond our knowing. It helps to control anxiety and fear when we accept the thought that there is something bigger than ourselves in the Universe. It is important for us to remember that nothing happens by accident. All is as it should be. Following this reasoning the question then surfaces, what lessons are we supposed to learn from these life altering situations?

Our survival depends upon our willingness to be good stewards of the earth on which we live. Global warming is caused by many things. We are a part, a contributor, to the warming that is causing the extreme climate changes. The good news is that each of us, in our own way, can do something to improve the environment. We just need to make a commitment to do so.

Another huge lesson I see surfacing is a reminder that as Americans we are survivors. We can put aside our differences and come together for a cause greater than ourselves. We are tough, resilient folks who are willing to lend a hand in times of trouble. In the challenges of Hurricane Sandy, we have seen our federal and state governments working together within a matter of hours. The politics of the presidential election have been put aside, as it should be, for a bigger purpose. It has been impressive to see how fast the various agencies have joined hands to assist so many people. This tragedy cannot be undone but the question remains, will we internalize the lessons from it?

We can help the people on the east coast in various ways. One possibility is to send in a donation – even five dollars – to the Red Cross or some other reputable organizations. Every dollar will help to ease the pain of our fellow Americans.

As we watch the devastation unfold before our eyes we can’t help but offer a little prayer for those people whose lives have been changed forever. For those that lost a loved one everything changes. They will be experiencing the stages of loss on so many different levels. May they have the strength and resiliency to rebuild and face tomorrow.

We will help, we will survive because we are Americans!