So I realized I have not written a post in quite some time. I will be honest recovery takes so much out of you. All that extra time you have to watch tv, read a book, write a blog post, is taken up with by healing, recovering and trying to retrain your behavior from what it was for the last 5 months. What do I mean by this, think about it, for 5 months I was thinking about the horrible event, negative thoughts, bracing myself for disappointment, or bracing for the next issue that would arise. So now I spend most of my extra time trying to think positively, repeat to myself that we are blessed, talk to groups about our experiences and what we did to move forward etc.
I was speaking to my mentor last week and I started telling him about how I bumped into a colleague of mine on campus who had not heard about our “journey”. I begin telling her about the tornado and the events that followed and I started crying, I couldn’t help it, that emotion just came up out of nowhere. My mentor told me that I was still suffering from PTSD, still to this day after all the good thing that have happened I was still having emotional distress. I only share this because I wonder how much people realize what really happens to their fellow beings when tragedy occurs. We had a national speaker on campus last week who began telling us about the tornado and how it ripped through Tuscaloosa, and how many people died, and on and on. Did I mention he was from Seattle? Seattle! I have that all the time those that were not here who feel like they should tell me about the event and what happened to the town. I have had a certain family member who is still doing it. If I ain’t crazy yet I soon will be!
So for the last 2 months Bobby and I have done a lot of great healing things. We got the house as many of you have already read and boy have we been busy! We have changed the floors, painted everything, fixed the bathroom, fixed the kitchen, and trying to clean the yard up (previous owners were not really yard people). We have been purging like crazy! The piles consist of damaged, donate, and oh my god why do we still have this and what irony it survived the tornado. Our life is completely different now, our house doesn’t even resemble the same house we had 6 months ago. We have changed as a couple and as individuals. We have cut ties with some and created stronger bonds with other. I am working for a new department and loving every minute of it. I have created new working relationships and am currently trying to give back to my community and to those that helped us the most.
Every day I meet a student who gives me chill bumps when sharing their stories. Every day I have tears well up to see what we as a university can do to help our students. This is the University that I remember this is the University I fell in love with 8 years ago. I have missed you!
Today I drove by one of the most damaged sections of Tuscaloosa. The 4 block neighborhood that was wiped clean from this earth in less than 20 minutes is now a beautiful meadow with wild flowers and bright green grass. It is gorgeous and rich with life. It sits right in the middle of Tuscaloosa. My heart was at peace for the first time driving by that area today.
It is time to close this blog I think. We are not healed completely but we are at a new normal. We are at a new phase in our lives. We have survived, with have thrived, and we have given back. It took a tornado to change things but in the end I think they are for the better and we are grateful.