A little over a month after the May 20th, 2013 Tornado which hit my hometown of Moore, Oklahoma - there have been so many changes for my family. Watching the recovery process in my town has been a period of mixed emotions.
I feel so much anguish for those who lost loved ones in the tornado - my 9 year old daughter lost her best friend. Families who lost not just everything in their homes, but also lost their homes themselves. There has been a great hope in all of us, that we can recover and make it through the devastation that May 20th brought all of us.
My children's elementary school was leveled in the tornado, which means now the entire faculty and students at that school will now not only have to deal with the fact that their school is gone, but they will have to adjust to attending other schools and facilities until a new one is built.
While the home I was renting received relatively minor damage - windows blown out, water and debris damage inside and out, along with roof damage - most of our personal belongings (clothing, toys, books, keepsakes, etc), were ruined from the water and debris that came into our home.
Still, I count my family as one of the lucky ones. We are all safe, we may have lost our belongings and our vehicle, but comparatively, our damage was minor. We survived the tornado while in our home. We came through it relatively unscathed. But we still must start over.
My schooling has been put temporarily on hold, my job situation is unsteady, due to the vehicle situation, and I am struggling to replace our clothing and our furniture. But still, we are better off than so many others.
I am reduced to tears every time I drive through the parts of town that were completely demolished, the devastation looked horrible on television right after the tornado, we were evacuated at night... Seeing it in the light of day a few days later was enough to throw me into emotional shock and numbness. A month later, I still don't have all of those emotions in check.
The thing is, while this has all been horrifying. There is a sense of hope. This is a chance to start a new life and make positive changes for my children and myself, this is where my friends and neighbors also find themselves. Change isn't always bad and things happen the way they do and either make us stronger or rip us apart.
I like to think that I am stronger for this, I feel so much hope and excitement about what the future may bring. I am so excited to see where my family, my friends and my neighbors will all be a year from now. I think we are all making the best out of a bad situation and making things change for the better.
And there is a great sense of pride in my community, my state, and my country. Everyone pulled together in the midst of a tragic and devastating natural disaster. This is what humanity is all about. And when a natural disaster hits, tragedy and devastation can also have moments of humanity.
Our human nature is what makes coping and recovering possible during a disaster. And in the recovery period after a disaster, sometimes just the concern of a stranger makes the whole thing more bearable and gives us a sense of hope.
Differences become forgotten, judgements are avoided and pride is set aside, to remember that we are all human beings.