Over the past several weeks, my friend Pat Meadowcroft has endured the visits by Presidents and other dignitaries to her hometown New Orleans, to commend that city on its resilience in the face of Hurricane Katrina ten years ago.
For her it is not about her City’s resilience but its survival. Unlike others who flew over or saw the video on TV, Pat lived it and the images of body bags, endless football fields of trashed refrigerators and the stench in the air that lingered for weeks still haunt her, although she has somehow found a way to compartmentalize it.
Tragedies are all around us, and starting with myself, we can look at these situations and hope for the best but recognize that for those living it, they have to do it in their own way and in their own time. Calling someone or something resilient does not make it so and each of us alone must define that for ourselves. Pat has come up with her formula and thankfully it seems to be working for her.
“So these images of destruction and defeat……well they are best left in the darkest caves of my mind. The images bubble up occasionally just as the toxic, stinking stew that surrounded my home during those days. Yes both what happened and the memories are toxic. Much better to focus on today and the future. I say “keep moving.”
© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2015