"To the world you may be one person...but to one person you may be the world..."

About Me

I grew up in a village of 500 people and now live in a beach town of 10 000. Wife to Jeff, Mama to Makenna and Jack. This is my place to share what's up with us, and the place where I sometimes need to pour my heart out about the not so sunshiney moments. This is my happy place. Thanks for stopping by :) Copyright 2012 by Melissa Wormington, that no part of this blog may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, without permission from the publisher.
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The Wormingtons

The Wormingtons
Jeff, Makenna, Jack and Melissa. Spring 2012. Photo credit: Tricia Denomme/Hope Photography

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tornado in Goderich: 7 months later.

To read how the tornado has affected our family from the beginning, click here.  

Another month has gone by and here we are, 7 months "post tornado".
It's been a busy month for my family, and for this blog.

When I posted my 6 month "update", I had no idea how huge the response would be.  That blog was shared over and over and over again and was even published in our local paper, the Goderich Signal Star.

Unbeknownst to me when I wrote it, the story about The Brindley Family would be featured on the 6:00pm news the same day I published that blog.  Once their story hit the news, people picked up on the correlating theme in my blog that there were others who didn't lose their homes like we did, but who one could argue, were in worse shape than we were.  The response was tremendous.  Overwhelming really.  I received many  facebook friend requests and phone calls from people I don't really even know in this town and from beyond, people wanting to talk to me, to hear my opinions, and ask how they could get involved.
 I felt like I needed to do something more than just write about it. So much was being said, but what was actually being done? People were saying they wanted to help, but didn’t know how, or what to do.
 So I decided to publish another blog, sharing some of the details of the Brindley story, and offering to provide a drop off location if anyone felt like they wanted to donate something to the family.

 There were a lot of people that stepped up to help the Brindley family, some people I knew, some people I had never met before. I took a lot of phone calls, answered a lot of questions to the best of my abilities, and made a lot of special deliveries. On behalf of both the Wormington and Brindley families, we want to say thank you.  Showing care and compassion to another human being, another child, another family, should only ever be seen as a good thing.  The Brindleys are determined not to be viewed as "charity cases", or as begging for handouts and I am determined to ensure everyone knows that is not the case, or the intention.
A bit of a debate unfolded in the comments area of my Pay it Forward blog, and I was not entirely surprised. At one point while speaking off the air with a local radio personality about the Brindley family, I voiced my concerns that they may be targeted…that people may respond with questions of “why them?...what about everyone else?”

 And I was right.
 While I was not and am not trying to say the Brindleys deserve(d) help more than anyone else, nor am or was I saying people must help them, whether they want(ed)to or not, and while I really don’t want to get into it all again, I will ask you this:

Why is it that offering to help someone always seems to come with questions, or the need to be justified?   Why is there this need to prove that people deserve the compassion, that they deserve the donation of time, money, care, etc that you have chosen, not been told, to give them?
Why does it always have to come down to who "has" and who "doesn't have" or “has not” or who has more and who has less and therefore is "deserving"?
Why does an offer or act of help spur others to think, believe, and even say out loud to others that there must be an ulterior motive, and even go as far as to create false rumours about what those ulterior motives could be?
 Why can't we just help someone, out of the goodness of our hearts, because we want to or feel compelled to, and feel good about it, instead of having to defend it?
How can any one possibly say who "deserves" the help of others and who doesn't?

What kind of lesson does that teach our children?

 That, my friends, is one of the things that is very wrong with the way the world is today...judging those who ask for help and putting them on a sliding scale, determining whether or not they are "worthy", compared to someone else  If someone, anyone, has the courage to ask for help, they should be commended, not condemned.

I am not talking about insurance companies and relief funds.  I am talking about regular everyday people like you and me.  Neighbours and friends.   Coworkers and teammates.  "The little people" that make up society.  

Love Your Neighbour. Don't judge and condemn them based on what you think you know. It would make the world, and this town, such a better place to live.

 I believe that what I chose to do and focus on this past month taught my children a very valuable lesson about life.  And I am proud of that.  When a box of diapers was dropped off at our house and I explained to my children who it was for and why, I could see the understanding in Makenna's eyes.  When my 7 and 4 year olds helped greet people at the front door and listened to me thank them for their donations, and them thank me for collecting them, they were learning about compassion. They watched and took in my reactions to the donations that were dropped off and by who, and never once questioned why they didn't get to keep the items brought for the Brindley children.  When they came with me to drop items off at the home the Brindleys are staying at, they learned about the power of giving, and of helping.

 That's what this should have been about, people.
 About my children learning that if you are in a position to help, you do it. Because it feels good and helps other people feel better.
And about the Brindley children learning that when you need help, there are good people out there willing to go without their morning coffee to buy a colouring book to put a smile on a child's face. And that there are people out there who want to help their mommy and daddy.

 That’s it, that’s all.

 Struggles come in many forms – financial, emotional, marital, parental, and more. Why do so many people suffer alone and refuse to ask for help? Because they know that if they do, they will be judged and have to justify how badly they really need it.

 Love Your Neighbour.
The one you know and the one you don’t. The one who is part of your circle of friends, and the one who isn’t. The one who goes to your church, and the one who doesn’t.

 And teach your children to do the same.

 Now, enough about that. Back to my life.

 The moving truck is booked.
 The time is booked off work.
 The phone, internet, cable and hydro are all set to be transferred over.

 And oh yes, the party is being planned.
 10 days people. 10 days.
 Our move is scheduled for the weekend of March 30.

 The interior of our house is painted (Thank you Lynn Chisholm from Homescapes by Lynn), the flooring is almost complete and the kitchen is being delivered today (Thank you Gina Burbine from Rona). The exterior is sided and the porch, the big front porch that was one of main reasons I wanted that old house on Park Street to begin with, is back.

 Perhaps one of my favourite things about the entire house is the front door. Not only is it beautiful (thank you to my sister in law Nicole from MDL Doors who recommended it), it holds a lot of symbolism for me. 

When I peered out of the stairway and around the corner on August 21, the first thing I saw was the front door laying on the floor infront of me, blown in 15 feet from where it had been locked a minute earlier.. The moment we walked through the open doorway onto our front porch and saw what had happened outside, our lives changed. That night I panicked and begged Patti to take me back to the house because I was worried about looters ransacking my wide open home. Her now fiancé Barry worked in the darkness aided only by a small flashlight to board the door back up and assure me the house was protected. The next day one of the first things Jeff and Sheila Zondag did was properly re hinge and buy a new lock for it so we could work at emptying our home in preparation for demolition.

 7 months later, on March 21, we have a new door now.
And in 10 days, we are going to walk back through it and take back our life on Park Street, as a family tested, a family changed, and a family strengthened.

 Will we have come full circle?
 I don’t know. In a sense yes, we will have, because we will be back home, on our street, with our neighbours. We will be able to sit on our front porch again and watch our kids ride their bikes and play hopscotch on the same sidewalk again. We will be able to plant a garden again and have a home that is truly ours again.

But will it be over?
Will it ever really be over?

 I don’t know. I don’t think it will.
We will forever be different. August 21 will be forever etched in our minds, and our hearts as the day that changed everything. I know that I myself will always be more fearful of the weather, and my heart will truly hurt for all future tornado victims from near and far.

12 seconds.
7 months later and we’re still completely engrossed with dealing with the events that occurred in a 12 second period.
12 seconds created all of this.
All of this blog series, and everything that has come with it for myself and my family.
All of the aquaintances, professional contacts and relationships and friendships that have been formed or strengthened as a direct result of those 12 seconds.
 All of what has been going on in my street.
 All of this change.

 Count them out in your head.
 All of this is a direct result of what happened within 12 seconds.

 Still having a hard time wrapping my head around that.

 In 10 days, another chapter will close for us.
But the next one will begin.

 I have agreed to teach a 2 hour class with the Lake Huron Learning Collaborative about blogging. It is the beginning of what I hope will be a long working relationship.

 What I have written, as a way of getting my thoughts from my heart to my head and out of my head, has gained attention, exposure and accolades. And I was truly just writing from my heart, for myself, to try to make sense of what was happening in and to my little life.

 There is a manuscript in the works. And I am actually starting to believe it is worth pursuing.

 I have tried to pay forward all of the support we have shown, to improve one family’s impossible situation that struck a cord within me and helped, I hope, to get them on a path to move forward.

 All because of 12 seconds?
 Who knew that amount of time could have such a profound impact on a person’s life?

 This blog isn’t over yet…We are walking back through our front door in 10 days.
 And you will all be in my heart when we do.

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Margaret Roosemalen said...

Melissa: God Bless you..Your blogs are very thought provoking. Your words really hit the heart. Your are doing such a great job with this blog at really telling it like it is.
I throughly enjoy reading everything you write.

Anonymous said...

Krista Haasnoot- maybe you could write a book about the tornado and how it has impacted u and then take a certain percent of the proceeds and put towards the tornado relief fund or to people who really need the money to rebuild their house like the brindley's.

Melissa said...

Hi Krista,

The book is in the works :) As for donating the proceeds, we shall see. Getting a book published is not cheap, as it turns out, and if I invest the time in it, I want to ensure my family is compensated.

I will say though, that although I personally don't have anything against the relief fund, if I chose to donate any proceeds, a long time from now, it would not be to the Goderich Disaster Relief Fund. ;)

Thanks for reading!