Skip to main content

The Fury of Mother Nature

I sit here on my couch, in my home, freshly showered with clean clothes on. I have my boyfriend sitting next to me working on his computer and my dog resting quietly on her blanket. We have a roof over our heads. There is food in the refrigerator. We have electricity and running water. Except for a sunburn and very irritated eyes, I am comfortable.



That is not so for many families living in communities surrounding mine. Here in the western part of Massachusetts on Wednesday June 1, 2011, several tornadoes ripped through this part of the state leaving a pattern of devastation so rarely, if ever, seen in this little hub of New England. We just don't get tornadoes of this magnitude in this part of the country. It is something that we hear about happening in Missouri or Kansas. Massachusetts averages two tornadoes a year and to be honest, you usually never hear about them. Most of us have only seen photos on TV of torn off tree tops and flattened homes.




I really wanted to find a way to help some of the victims from this terrible tragedy and was fortunate enough to be able to join my church to spend a day in the local town of Monson to assist a family and their neighbors with sorting through the debris of what were once their homes. We brought supplies and just as importantly brought some hope and some faith. I had lived for two years in the quiet town of Monson many years ago and therefore had a soft spot in my heart for this quiet and friendly town.


Nothing can really prepare you for the sight of the landscape you see when you approach a part of a town that has seen a tornado tear through it. The trees are gone, or at very least the tops of them. Whole buildings are collapsed. There are wires down on the street every which way you turn. National Guard personnel stand on the street corners and walk down the sidewalks. As we drove through, it seemed to me that the scene might be similar to a war zone as depicted on TV. There are claims adjusters and other official looking people going from site to site. People's belongings are strewn all over not only their lawns, but on their neighbor's neighbor's lawn.




We sorted and we sifted. We made piles. We lifted, hauled, and carried. We gave hugs. We tried to console without letting the victims see our tearful eyes behind our dark sunglasses. Part of me felt like I was privy to the insides of someone's life as I was sorting through their clothes and other personal belongings. I couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to be so displaced; to have strangers sorting through your belongings and in less than two minutes, to have your entire existence as you know it changed forever. I don't know personally the people that we helped today, but I knew that I just wanted to turn back the clock for them and freeze May 31, 2011 so that they never had to experience the loss and sorrow associated with June 1, 2011.


However despite all of the loss, there was so much hope. We heard several stories of survival. I was shown a small space underneath the complete collapse of a home where a woman and her 12 year old child crawled out from the basement. I saw children about 11 or 12 years old walking the streets offering food and water to the residents of the neighborhood as well as to the men and women working to help restore power lines and such. I witnessed an incredible amount of supplies being hauled into the neighborhood; people sometimes having to carry them for a mile or so because vehicle access was limited.


It's funny because oftentimes we go about our day to day lives and get so caught up in what is NOT good in this world....the people who hurt us, scorn us, or just plain aggravate the hell out of us. But I have to tell you, there is a lot of good in this world. There is also a lot of human resiliency. When people are faced with the most adverse of circumstances, they find something deep inside themselves that they didn't know that they had. They rise to the occasion.



I started writing this blog posting last evening as this all took place yesterday, but I had to put it away for a bit before I could finish it. Sometimes when an experience is overwhelming to me, I have to write down some initial thoughts and then come back to it. It can be because I am having a difficult time with the writing. In this instance though, I had to come back to it because the emotions of the day were so overwhelming to me yesterday. They still are, but the shock has worn off a bit. I feel like I was part of a process that was so raw on a human emotional level. There was something so deeply personal and humanistic about helping these disaster victims. People like you and me. People who, by chance, live in the path of Mother Nature's fury. People who will face their obstacles, rebuild, and continue on.













Photos: Chuck Myers and Christine Molloy

Comments

  1. Reread it again, can feel all the emotion that was felt when we all worked there. You always express everything so well. This also helps to keep our neighbors in our thoughts and prayers, and to keep helping in any way we can.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wish I could have been there to help. Sometimes when I think about it, I still get teary-eyed.
    Char

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse

After careful consideration and a lot of research, I made a decision after the holidays to embark on a cleanse/detox. I will start by saying that I have never done anything like this before, mostly because I don't believe in fad diets, or any diet for that matter, and also because I'm not sure, with all my health issues, how good it would be for my body.


However, I had been having some new digestive issues and some of my other autoimmune symptoms were acting up sporadically here and there. I also really overdid it and made some consistently bad food choices over the holidays and I was trying to get my food cravings under control. The digestive issues were not anything severe that impaired my daily living, but I am slightly paranoid about my family history of ovarian cancer and I am at the age my mom was when she was diagnosed. The most overlooked and under recognized symptoms of ovarian cancer are the digestive issues I was having such as bloating, gas, and constipation. Sinc…

Low Dose Naltrexone

In my last blog entry I discussed my current experiences with an integrative medicine doctor. (Going Down the Road of Integrative Medicine). In that entry, I mentioned a new medication I was prescribed by this doctor called low dose naltrexone (LDN) and I think that it is worthy of its very own blog entry so here we go. Be forewarned, it's a bit complicated...


Since we have the modern day miracle of Google, I am not going to spend a lot of time describing LDN and exactly how it works, but I think there are some basics that are important. Naltrexone is a medication that was created in the late 1970's as a treatment for heroin overdose and subsequently used in larger doses (50-300 mg) to treat heroin addicts. It blocks the opiate receptors in our body, which are also found on immune system cells. The next discovery, in the 1980's, was that naltrexone at lower doses (hence why it is called low dose naltrexone), blocks these opioid receptors and increases the endorphin level…

Sjogren's and Disability

I have been reading a lot of posts of the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation Facebook page lately about disability for this disorder. People seem to have a lot of questions and comments not only about the process itself of obtaining disability, but also about the journey which is at best, extremely stressful. Having gone through the arduous process myself, I thought it might be helpful to blog about my experience in the hope that someone may find the information useful or at the very least, know that they are not alone in their struggles and frustration with getting through this system.




My journey with disability began in 2008 when I was put on short term disability through my former employer. After a period of time (I believe it was ninety days), it converted to long term disability which was a benefit I had elected through my employer, thank god. What that meant was that a private disability company, contracted through my employer, paid me sixty percent of my previous year's gro…