Grief and Loss in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma: Widows will Persist

Hurricane out rainy window

My heart goes out to those in the path of Hurricane Harvey these past weeks and now Hurricane Irma. So many people have lost loved ones, but also their homes and sense of identity. It’s not just material things but how we identify ourselves with our homes and jobs. So much loss and displacement with uncertainty of the future, reminds me of what it feels like to be a widow. That feeling of being lost and not knowing what to do next that we widows are all too familiar with each day.

There have been 63 people reported dead from Hurricane Harvey as of September 4th, 2017. I see the devastation in pictures on the news but it is in the stories of the lives lost in the newspaper articles that break my heart. People who in some instances were involved in heroic deeds of trying to save others such as Sgt. Steve Perez, put a face on the loss and grief felt by a city and a nation. I feel for each of the family members today faced with that loss.

As a widow, I understand but it makes me realize what I have, to be thankful for in my life, as well. I hope they have the support of other loved ones in friends and family. I know they have the support of our hearts as Americans. It will become easier for them as time goes by, but obviously life will never be the same for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

As I write this, Hurricane Irma is bearing down on the southeastern shore of Florida. People there are bracing for storm winds and rain with some even evacuating. We cannot prevent or change the storms. We are left waiting and watching with dread and fear. This is like the deaths of our loved ones in hospitals or sick beds at home all over the country every day. We as widows could not have prevented their deaths or changed the outcome of their loss.

Many refer to people who survive the loss of a loved one in a Hurricane like Harvey or Irma as victims. But I refuse to see these people as victims, I see their courage, the vibrancy of their lives, and the hope in their eyes. For I know that when I am the weakest, I am the strongest. I hope and pray today for all those affected by loss and grief all over the world. It is not an easy journey, and one we as widows and family members don’t choose. 

Widows are strong, we can persist and learn and grow for we will not be counted out or kept down. Our futures can still be bright with happy and productive lives. We will, as widows, laugh and reach goals yet again if we can only be survivors of the pain of grief and loss. Our loved ones would be proud of us each day as we wake up and take a breath of our new lives because we are still here . There is a path for living a positive and productive life, even after loss. Making positive decisions and adding new things to our lives is important so as not to stay in a rut of routine. We can turn our loss and pain into a way to help others. Helping others is, according to Happiness studies, the best way to add happiness to your life. I am sending love and prayers to all those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma and to all those with their own personal hurricanes in their lives.

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