A Hug From My Son

By: Jeff Smith, Social Services Director, Springfield, MO 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at  11:48pm

So today is day 5 of 8 days I will be serving the survivors  of the Joplin May 2011 tornado. I have seen much and heard much much more. Homes  have been destroyed, businesses gone, cars have been mangled, crushed and sucked  up to never be seen again, trees stripped naked of their leaves and bark and  worse yet, lives have been lost.

I have heard of the step by step accounting of how a mother called her son and husband to take shelter, calling her son first and how her husband was sucked out of the house and into the back yard only to see his house literally destroyed, killing his son inside and how today they have his ashes in an urn.

I have heard of how a mother was killed saving her son’s life only to have that son have serious head trauma and end up in the hospital in K.C. and how the grandmother and aunt will now be taking care of him.

I have listened as a neighbor pulled two sleeping infants out of the rubble, they were sound asleep unharmed.

I have also heard of how a father pulled each of his two children out of their destroyed house only to witness each die in the ambulance.

The list goes on and on. People have been hurt, their grief is great and yet we are doing our best to assist them as we can as they begin to move forward. It is hard for many to move forward when such grief has struck, yet moving forward must happen.

This morning as I left again and after spending only 15  minutes with my kids, which is all I will be able to do each day the rest of  this week, my son jumps up in my arms, tells me he loves me and gives me a  hug…the kind that you hang on to just a little bit longer. My staff was in my house at that moment and I caught one of them catching our moment and I realized just how lucky I am and choked up. Through it all today, I was drawn back to that lingering hug and that is what sustained me today.

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