I get off the bus in Moore with a group of blue-shirted volunteers from Chesapeake Energy Company. It’s 1:30pm. Hot. Sunny. I walk down a street, what used to be a neighborhood street. Now on both sides of me there remain only the skeletons of houses and heaps of rubble taller than I am. Up ahead I see people. Three women sitting in the middle of the street. They are smiling.
They are watching a bulldozer demolish their house.
What strikes me about these women is how jovial they are. They are laughing and talking, joking and rubbing suntan lotion on their arms. It’s like they’re at a football game, or out at the park. I learn they are three generations of Oklahoma – born and bred. Joan, or “Gran” as she calls herself, is the matriarch of the trio. Her daughter, Lynn, is the owner of the now-defunct house on the corner, while Lynn’s daughter, Shannon, lives in Oklahoma City. As I am talking with Gran, Lynn suddenly jumps up and disappears behind the pile of rubble. A few minutes later we see her reemerge – inside the bulldozer! What a great release it must be to just unleash anger, frustration and fear through the long arms of a giant metal robot. When she finally reappears at the makeshift lawn-chair outpost, she plops down, tired, and exclaims that she got the dresser and the mattress!
This is not their first rodeo. As native Oklahomans, they have survived the bulls-eye of more than one tornado. Lynn’s home was destroyed for the first time in 2003. That’s when she moved here. After the bulldozer has cleared her land, she says, she’ll rebuild. Yep, right on that same spot. She loves the park behind the neighborhood, which right now looks like no more than a mess of strewn limbs over puddles of mud and grass. But the trees are alive, she assures me, and they will heal.
And so will these women. And the other women I talked to today in Moore. They are sending us messages from wherever they have scattered to since their homes were destroyed – homes of friends, relatives, hotels, gymnasiums – that they are fighting, and they need our help, not our pity. And we hear them! We are responding. You can even help respond… by posting, texting and emailing the women’s health needs assessment that COHI is conducting to your friends and relatives.
Every woman that we hear from gives us vital information and helps guide us to respond to the needs of these beautiful women in their time of courage. So please share this link liberally. It takes 10 minutes to fill out and will contribute immensely to the longterm recovery needs of these women who deserve our help.
In light, love, and laughter 🙂
Michelle Jones, CPM, LM