Remembering an unforgettable day

Published 3:49 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2020

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Many of you may have lost track of the time, the past calendar year flying by and filled with so many extraordinary things about life. However, there is a large majority of people in this community who are very cognizant of a particular date that just passed and what that date continues to mean to them. March 3, 2019, was a day that no one really expected, catching most people off guard on what started off as a beautiful Sunday afternoon. People were outside grilling on their porch or enjoying the day with their family, some napping after returning home from a local Sunday service. And then, within seconds, their lives changed forever, thus impacting a community in ways no one ever expected and continues to do so at the one year anniversary.

Let me tell you something that I am certain most of you already know — this date will be remembered forever, and it is already causing intense anxiety in the hearts and minds of those who lived through it or responded to the aftermath. Images have been scorched into our memories and every single day, new challenges arise that prevent some from “moving forward” or send them reeling “backwards”, all part of an intense grief journey that arises after a traumatic event.

I am so appreciative of this community, a community that recognizes that this day is beyond meaningful for many. It represents loss of life, homes, personal belongings and even a sense of “safety,” as many people still struggle with severe weather alerts and thunderstorms. A large contingent of people have planned and organized many “remembrance” services that will take place that day- and some survivors of the greatest storm to ever come through this area will find that comforting and will participate, while others will refrain from answering phone calls or invitations to be present at something that is certain to trigger painful emotions and are simply “not ready or able” to be a part of this “healing together” this year.

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Because I have been honored to walk alongside many of these families, I understand some of the struggles they are going through and why this upcoming date is creating some angst. As we all know, grief doesn’t magically disappear after one year comes and goes, and for many, it truly gets more difficult as memories arise to the surface and confronting fears and intense loss become more prevalent. They struggle daily with how drastically their lives have changed while they watch others carry on with their lives, the approaching date merely a blip on their radar because it didn’t directly impact them.

The thing is, we would all like to believe that no one has “forgotten” them and that outreach and support is still plentiful, however the reality is that there are many who won’t even give it a second thought and woke up on that morning complaining about having to go to work or school. However, those who lived through that day and are still struggling to create some semblance of normalcy in their lives will be inundated with painful memories and emotions that even for them might be difficult to explain. Remember that it is not helpful to try and take away or discount their feelings or to tell them that you know how they feel. Point blank, none of us can possibly know or understand the depth of what they are currently experiencing, however, we can provide comfort in our presence and remind them that we have not “forgotten.”