What a difference a week makes. Last Tuesday, as the destruction of the April 28 tornado came into focus, the skies were ominous. We braced for another possible round of fearsome storms and tried to wrap our heads around the changed landscape.
The helpers came out before the sun did. Big and small, they came with chain saws, they came with food, they came with prayers. They came from near and far, and they kept coming all week long.
Friends with damaged homes have talked about how much the outpouring of support lifted their spirits as they faced the rebuilding process. One friend posted on Facebook that her insurance adjuster had never had to account for this volume of volunteer labor before.
The helpers talked about the profound sense of purpose they found pulling tree limbs to a brush pile. In the city and in the country, the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor was overflowing. Pictures of kids helping in the cleanup this weekend overtook the photos of kids playing ball in my newsfeed this weekend.
We have a drive to help just as surely as we have a drive to eat and procreate. You can just see the divine working through human hands during days like these. It makes me proud to call this corner of Northeast Mississippi my home. Once again, the generous souls who live here have answered the call to aid others.
But as far as we have come this week, there is a long road ahead for those who lost the most. I’ve been told the hardest time for grieving families are in the days after the funeral. The initial crisis, and the numbness that comes with it, is over. Bustle of visitation and funeral are past. There’s just the dawning reality that you will have to live the rest of your life without this person.
It is just at this moment the rest of the world moves on. Friends go back to work and school. But a raw, aching wound continues for the family.
The families of John Servati and Candie Blansett, who died during the tornado outbreak April 28, are in this place right now. The people whose homes and businesses are unlivable are in this place now, as well.
As much as we’ve done this week, we need to keep walking with these friends. Our challenge is to sustain our Tupelo spirit.
Michaela Gibson Morris is a Daily Journal staff writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (662) 678-1599.