Summer went out in a Tornado

How was your Summer?  I do hope you were able to get away for some downtime and recharge?  It certainly was a hot one……..

A Friday Night to Remember

The last breath of Summer left us during the storm last Friday evening ushered out by 6 Tornado’s here in the Ottawa region.  The result of the storm plunged many into chaos as the power went out in homes.  across the region.  This was a small inconvenience compared to the people whose homes were destroyed by the storm.  The winds tore off rooftops, downed trees, and power lines, scattering debris over roads impeding travel and rescue efforts.

Neighborhoods Destroyed

It would take several days for the extent of the damage to reach the public’s awareness.  When it did, those watching were totally stunned and shocked by the devastation in many areas around our region. I’m certain there were a few hands over mouths as they took in the pictures they were seeing.  Trees on top of cars, rooftops gone leaving their contents visible and exposed.  Large trees on top of family dwellings.  Large power poles snapped in half downing the wires they were carrying.  One main power station feeding so many homes in the area was just another casualty of the tornado.

Grieving Enters

I couldn’t help thinking of how this external event could be linked to grief.  A death happens and throws everything into chaos. The once familiar becomes unfamiliar and how we mourn for what was.  A similar picture was unfolding.  Many were looking forward to TGIF, cooking super and relaxing at the end of the workweek, except for many there was no power and for others, there was no longer a home.

How quickly we can take people and places for granted.  In a blink of an eye, it can be taken from us and we are truly powerless.

The Clean-Up Begins

It is not just the homes that will need rebuilding or tearing down but the clearing of so many damaged trees.  The landscape is forever changed.  Everyday living last week meant restocking of fridges, and freezers after throwing out wasted food.  The rebuilding of their lives begins.  How did people cope knowing they would soon have to return to work?  How could you possibly be productive when your life is in chaos?

When a death occurs, you remain busy, stoic powering through the endless tasks and then when it is over you discover you’re not coping well, you are in mourning.  This is what those individuals affected by such loss will be experiencing.  The effects are not always apparent in the early days, however, once the shock and busyness wear off many will require close monitoring.  For signs of PTSD, severe stress and mourning.  This is when they will need support.  After the army of volunteers have left leaving them to cope on their own.

Reach out and Support

Just as first responders were there helping, grief counselors were also present.  Advising those affected to speak about what happened and to ensure they take care of themselves.  Good advice, however, when you are extremely stressed as they will be, it is hard to settle down.  Sleep when you are extremely stressed is normally the first to be disrupted and is so needed.  They may be unable to relax and feel agitated.  Making decisions may even prove a challenge.

If you know someone affected by the events of last week, please take time and invite them for coffee with you.   Take time to allow them to share their story with you.  No need to fix, just listen and acknowledge what they say.   This simple act can be healing.  Please don’t talk about your experience or share stories of someone you know.  This is not helpful.  Just listen.  If you don’t know what to say “say that”.   The important step is to allow them to talk and share.

I do hope you and your family were all safe and your power was restored quickly?

Take Time to Prepare

Truly how prepared are we for life’s challenges?

It takes something like mother nature to show us just how unprepared we may be.  Especially for those big events such as a death or loss that challenge us and stop us in our tracks. Much like the storm did.

This made me reflect on my mission to help others to not fear death and the grieving process that follows on its heels.  As a grief guide and coach, I am here to support and can help you understand the process so you will be prepared and know what to do.

Just as many people, I’m certain will be preparing to ensure they have certain supplies in place. Perhaps including a generator, definitely stocking up on candles or flashlights. A battery radio was recommended so you could be updated for the next time the lights go out!