As I sit here reading the news report and following the news media about the devastation that occurred in Moore, Oklahoma and the surrounding communities and the events that unfolded the day before in Oklahoma and Kansas, I have to wonder why does this always seem to happen. I am sure that I am not the only one who is wondering why this happens. Of course, this is an act of nature and we cannot control nature. I began thinking about how all of us always feel so unprepared for loss and for the grief that follows. Not only were homes and businesses lost but many lives, some old and who were so very young. My heart goes out to all of the families who have been affected because they did not do anything, they were simply living their life and all of the sudden an E4 tornado sits down and takes everything they have away. I am especially touched by the fact that there were 27+ children who were killed simply going to school to learn like any other day. As a parent, I am deeply saddened by this. As parents, when we drop our children off at school, we expect this to be one of the safest places for them to be besides by our side.
As a community, I wonder what we can do to help these families. At this time, the grief is overwhelming and it is devastating. Losing a loved one brings so many emotions but this coupled with the fact they may have lost a loved one and all of their worldly possessions brings many more emotions to deal with. Grieving is a process with many stages. It is human nature to want to help but then comes the question “what can I do”? There may not be a lot that we can do but hearing the words “I am here and I am happy to help, if you need me” can be words of comfort. More importantly, it is the rebuilding process that is going to be so important. Not only rebuilding the house and the structures that were destroyed but also the lives of these families. Often times after a loss, the sibling’s loss is neglected. The focus tends to be directed towards the parents or the surviving spouse. My word of advice is to not forget that the sibling’s loss is equally as devastating as the parent’s loss. Do not forget to ask how the siblings are doing. Do not forget to ask how they are feeling and what they remember. I encourage people in my book, Making Lemonade: Choosing a Positive Pathway After Losing Your Sibling to always keep people fond in your heart. Talk about the good and the bad. Most importantly, do not forget to laugh about stuff. This is what keeps people alive and keeps them vibrant. It is possible in the days ahead that we could experience more loss and more families could be affected but know that what you can do is be there and be supportive of them in the coming weeks and months when they will need you most.