Dealing with Survivor’s Guilt

One of the hardest parts of the last couple of weeks is acknowledging and working through survivor’s guilt.

Looking at the trajectory of the tornado and knowing that it was headed straight at us but turned into our neighbors instead makes me grateful and heartbroken. I’m glad I’m alive, and our home is in one piece, and I’m heartbroken that so many of my neighbors died or lost everything.

Underneath it all, I can’t help but ask why a beautiful child would be taken from her parents while I was allowed to live.

I’ll never have the answer, and I may never stop asking that question somewhere in my heart, but I can choose to honor that little girl by doing better in my life, by living my life with more love and gratitude.

I’ve been told by trauma specialists and counselors that what I’m feeling is completely normal, and I know in my head that they’re right. But it doesn’t change the reaction I have every time I drive down 70, surrounded by the rubble that was once our neighborhood.

During most of the day, I can work and function without thinking about it, but as I drive my daily route to see my horse, I’m forced to confront our community’s new normal, and all of those feelings rush to the surface. The tears. The guilt. The heartbreak. Everything is still so fresh and raw.

While the world is going nuts clearing the shelves of toilet paper and canned goods, I’m trying to get through the day without sobbing. I honestly don’t have the emotional energy to worry about the corona virus until I can break through some of what I’m feeling.

So what am I doing to unpack this guilt? I’m journaling, praying, letting myself cry, sharing with you, and talking to people I can trust. There’s no clear timeline for getting over this kind of trauma, so I’m just giving it whatever time it needs.

Please continue to pray for our community. We’re still grieving and cleaning up. The rebuilding process is still a ways off, and we can use all the prayers we can get.

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