Disaster Deployment, Day 5
And today my field work began. Casework has started and I met with families today, including families with seriously injured and deceased loved ones.
Words cannot really explain the experience. My heart is open and full of compassion for these clients but nothing I did (or could have done) prepared me for the depth of sorrow I would see and feel.
Multiple generations are affected by this. There is loss of property, homes and personal belongings; loss of the past (pictures, memories, etc); loss of future plans and stability; loss of life.
The stories and details I heard about families watching the tornado pass over them is a whole new level of disaster in my relief experience, and a whole new level of catastrophe.
A long walk and a short cry, a big hug and a good conversation have helped me understand how to cope with this. It was my first fatality experience. I don't think responding to fatalities will ever get easier, but that as I learn my own emotions and response I will be better able to mentally, emotionally and spiritually process the experiences. And when this is all said and done my capacity to provide support will have grown exponentially.
Deep breath. My heart and mind are present. Signing out.
PS. I don't have a camera with me so the blackberry pictures will have to do. The picture above is a tiny piece of the widespread (but limited to a narrow area) destruction.