Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ruin

A sinking feeling came to my chest when we crossed the crest and saw the jagged, leafless trees on the horizon. "Please, not them, Lord," I said audibly. Heartache. "It's them." We'd had them at our table, and they'd had us at theirs. When devastation strikes, it is easier to help clean up when there is emotional distance. As we saw them, I started to cry. "Are you going to be able to handle this?" Joseph asked me. "Yes."

"We're so glad your okay," I tell Bill* as tears spill from my eyes.
And he asks,"How's the Mama to be?" So like our neighbors. They've seen us come and go. They've mowed our front ditch. Their cows occasionally get into our fields.
"How are you?" Joseph asks. "Shocked," he says.
The home is half gone, and the barn is completely demolished. The yard is a conglomeration of nails, shingles, dead calves, sideways tree limbs, and farm equipment leaning at strange angles. Cows are bellowing in the front yard, looking for their young, lifeless calves.

I find her. Her eyes search her front yard aimlessly as I asked, "Do you need help finding your cows or anything?"
"We don't know where they are at, but we don't know where to start either."
"Let us know if we can do anything," I tell her.
She looks at my pregnant belly, and says, "Soon you won't have very much time to help for you'll have your baby."
"We'll be happy to do what we can, even if it is just sending Joseph down the road, or getting something for you all or the people who are helping to eat."
"I just don't know where to start," she says. "I don't even know what to say."
"I have a baby quilt for you in the house," she says, as she glances at what remains of the house that is now partly roofless. Bricks are strewn across the yard. "This will never be the same,"she says with a sad, desolate look in her eyes.

Thirty one years of living, loving and making memories in a home.
Kids, grand kids, and what you've known.
Taken. Swept away as you are down in a storm shelter.
I don't know words to comfort that away. I'm just glad our neighbors are safe, and that they were spared.

When we went into our storm shelter last night, we talked about what we would do if our house and barn blew away. How would we start over? Today we're thinking that it's easier to start over if you're in your 30's, and not in your 70's. And yes, we'd still plant our trees. We'd still build our barn. We'd still build our house. For again, it's the people that matter. We're thankful to have been spared, but we are saddened by their loss.

Have you ever lost something and been devastated by that loss? What did it teach you about living?

*names changed

2 comments:

  1. Beautifully put, my dear. I'm sitting here sobbing like a baby for your dear friends, thankful that they have such special neighbors like you to encourage them in what will probably be a long road ahead.

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  2. They are so much better today. She told me it hit her today and she's just cried when looking at things. They are a bit frustrated with the insurance adjustor,...but brought them a cooler full of pop and a 5 gallon thermos of water for all the people out there doing work. So strange that Wichita is getting so much publicity when there were several houses destroyed out here. At least the community is rallying around the people out here. Very neat to work and get to know some other neighbors...

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