Survivor's Guilt

It's weird but one of the strongest emotions I've had to deal with in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is guilt. When I see the destruction of all the homes around and my house is unscathed, there is guilt. It seems such an odd emotion to have to contend with but it's there. Part of it could be that there is so many people hurting and you want to help each and every one but know you can't.

There are 16,000 lucky homeowners in the coastal counties of Mississippi that can say the same as me, their homes are undamaged. I was talking to one today. He said he can't bare to go visit his friends because they have lost so much. He also said he felt guilty. He pointed out space after space of where the homes of his friends once stood.

He also related how 23 of his neighbors had to escape the storm surge as it engulfed their neighborhood. They sought the shelter of his home. His house is a mile inland from Biloxi's Back Bay in the small town of D'Iberville. The water surrounded his home but did not get inside.

We talked about the feelings of guilt and I suggested to him that there was a reason his home wasn't destroyed. His life and the lives of 23 others were saved because it did survive.

There's a profound sadness about the destruction and the many lives that have been changed. There's also the realization that the Mississippi Coast will never be the same again. Many of the historical buildings are gone. Even the cemeteries were damaged.

The grieving goes on. It will take time to heal the spiritual, physical, and mental wounds that are present. G-d's love is helping with that. It's in the faces of people as we work together to rebuild. It's in the hope that the Mississippi Gulf Coast will be better and stronger. It's in the helping hands of the college students from Vermont, Connecticut, and elsewhere. It's in the helping hands of volunteers from Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada, and other states.


Blogger MissingLink said...

You know you shouldn't have this feeling.
Having said that I understand why you do.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...


It's funny what kind of feelings pop-up after something like Katrina.

12:07 AM  

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