Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Family of Nine That Survived and Survivor's Guilt

The Kansas City Star has a story tonight about a family of nine that survived the duck boat disaster.

The article mentions that the family is suffering from survivor's guilt. I strongly suspect the other survivors are, as well. It is difficult not to in a catastrophe like Thursday evening's.

While those who made it off the Stretch Boat 07 alive are obvious candidates for survivor's guilt, there are others: all of the first responders and perhaps those who were on duty at the Springfield office of the National Weather Service. The NWS did a great job. No need for guilt. But, that is not the way it usually works.

After the 1991 Wichita-Andover Tornado, the meteorologists on-duty at WeatherData, Inc. had terrible cases of survivor's guilt, myself included. There was no reason for it; we did our job to near-perfection (including a national award from the American Meteorological Society). But, there was a strong sense of, "if I'd have gone on the air just one more time" or "if I had phrased this differently maybe those killed would have taken shelter." Seventeen were killed in that tornado, the same number killed on Table Rock Lake Thursday evening.

I got over it by talking at length with an ER nurse at Wichita's Wesley Hospital who also had survivor's guilt after treating people who were horribly maimed by the tornado's flying debris. It takes some years to get over it.

I'm writing this so you will keep all of the people who may be affected in your prayers. If you live in southwest Missouri, please offer your words of encouragement. They will be appreciated far more than you'll ever know.

There is a good article about survivor's guilt here.

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