Up to this moment on this lovely spring day, I've lived through only minor ecological and geological disasters. In my almost fifty years, I've been near, around, close to, and by floods, hurricanes, earthquakes. In 1989, I clutched my two children as we stood under a door jamb and rode out Loma Prieta. Hills close by have slid, roads have crumbled, planes have made emergency landings, but I--knock on wood hard--haven't been in the eye of any disaster.
Except, I think that there are disasters of the heart and soul that are as violent but perhaps not as widespread as the effects of a 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami. But those hurts and pains and wounds and despairs can have as long a clean up and cost as much to the individual. Deaths of loved ones, divorce, violence create a disaster of the heart, and often, there is no Red Cross or world wide fund to help us get through them. And the effects can go on for a lifetime, longer than you'd expect the ramifications of a tornado to last.
My father died when I was fifteen. I've lived 3.3 times that since, and for many years, his death felt like--if not yesterday--a week ago. All my life I've been trying to figure out what that tragedy means. I've over and underdone all sort of behaviors because of his death. I've under and over compensated. In the past, I turned to men who were the complete opposite or exactly like my father. I've taken on and taken off his personality traits to suit my particular issues (anger, temper, depression).
Now, 3.3 times later, I think the disaster of his death is like last year, maybe five years ago. I'm over it, but sometimes, I will awake from a dream and know that I am not, the disaster lingering.
The tsunamis of the heart. Each one of us is a potential walking disaster site. I think about that often when working with people, knowing that underneath, inside, they are in trauma and turmoil, issues with loved ones floating around inside the flood waters of their minds and bodies. We all have our disasters, and we need to meet that next angry person as if we were Red Cross workers.
"Would you like a blanket?" we might ask. "Water? A warm meal."
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org