“You’ve never seen it miss this house, and miss that house, and come after you!”
– Jo Harding (played by Helen Hunt in movie, Twister)
If you are familiar with the 1996 hit movie known as Twister, then you might remember this powerful scene. Jo Harding was impacted at a young age when an F-5 tornado took the life of her father. She had since devoted her life to storm chasing. The word that comes to my mind when reflecting on the above quote is “trauma.” Jo was 6 years old when she witnessed the twister take her father from her. The event happened decades ago, but the traumatic effects were still very present.
I know this movie is fictional. However, twisters are very real and very devastating; and the traumatic impact of such an experience can last a lifetime. On May 20th of this year, late afternoon, I sat on my couch and helplessly watched on my television an EF-5 ripped through the city of Moore, Oklahoma, a mere 20 minutes away from my home. I sat and watched as people’s lives were literally being ripped away from them by this horrific force of nature. The day before that, I watched as an EF-4 ripped through the Oklahoma towns of Edmond, Luther, Shawnee, and Carney. I was able to visit a couple of the disaster sites and my heart breaks for the families.
In a blink of an eye, hundreds of lives have forever been changed. The loss of life is tragic and unexplainable; however, many children and adults survived as they rode out the storm in their storm shelters, homes, and even schools. Although the tornado has lifted and clouds have dissipated, for many of the survivors, the storms are just beginning.
If you have been impacted by a tragic event, either directly or indirectly, and you are having trouble coping with what you experienced, you could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or acute stress disorder. Some of you may be experiencing some of the same symptoms but on a lesser scale. In either case, it may be beneficial to seek out a professional counselor in order to help you effectively process and cope with the experience.
If you are familiar with the recent events in Oklahoma, then you know that many children were directly impacted by this storm. Therefore, I have also included a few PDF files that you can download to help you know how to best approach your children in helping them deal with what they have seen and experienced.
If you have questions or are in need of more resources, please do not hesitate to contact me as I would be happy to help steer you in the right direction.
Licensed Marital & Family Therapist
Certified Sex Addiction Therapist Candidate