Repairing Our Minds After Tragedy

Oklahoma City

Image via Wikipedia

We have come through another Tragedy!  What happens now to our minds?  The professionals will say that those close to the event will have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  They will see the event even when they close their eyes.  Loud noises will cause those who were there to startle.

Yes these things will happen.  Having gone through one of these events myself in Oklahoma City, I can attest that it will not be easy.  I was not in the building that came down on April 19, 1995, but I was on the freeway driving into Oklahoma City.

I saw the fireball shoot above the trees from the highway from 36th street and Walker, on the Broadway Extension.  As I continued on the Extension, I saw the smoke go from white to black.   Coming closer to 5th street, large bellowing smoke rose from the city and moved to the southern end of the city.  I was listening to KOMA Radio, Ronnie Kaye, radio disc jockey, came on and announced there had been an explosion in the Federal Building downtown.

I circled the city on Interstate 35 moving to  Western Avenue, to go South.  When I exited, several large plate-glass windows of a boat dealer were smashed and broken.  This was 20 blocks away from the Federal building.

I had an appointment at a hospital in the South West part of the City.  When I arrived, Ronnie Kaye was announcing for all nurses and doctors to report downtown to St. Anthony hospital to give aid.

You see after all these years, it is still as clear as the day it happened.  You don’t forget, it stays with you, and I did not lose a family member, just good friends from church and my daughter’s dance program.

Several months later, I was visiting a friend in Dallas, I remember a loud boom went off, I could hardly breathe or talk.  My heart raced and my friend asked me what was wrong?  I didn’t realize it then, but I was suffering from the bombing aftereffects.

It took me years to even talk about that day without crying.  So many people died and were lost.  Our ideal life in the heartland was shattered by two men whose ideas were not like the rest of us.  Very similar to Arizona, but that young man may have had a mental illness.  The men in Oklahoma City did not.

Time will help, and having counselors in the community available will help.   When the trial happens, counselors will be needed again, just like in Oklahoma City.  It brings it all back up again, and you get angry and you get frustrated, and you don’t know how to feel.

My heart goes out to all the people who were there at the Safeway a week ago.  You will have friends to help you, and yes it will not be easy, but just know that feeling your feelings is the best thing to do.

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