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When Tragedy Strikes

By Amy Yanek

When tragedy strikes, after the initial shock wears off, mentally processing the step change our lives have been forced through can be…overwhelming. Coming to terms with our new reality isn’t an instantaneous transformation. Psychology experts have identified five different stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – but our progression through these emotions isn’t always linear, nor necessarily quick.

One important factor in dealing with grief is our ability to recognize, accept, and release our emotions. My personal grief journey gave birth to this poem, which was written with purposeful ambiguity so as to apply to both literal and figurative storms. The first, which I will share with you that happened to me recently, relates to a tornado-like wind that decimated 10 trees on our property – as I initially peeked out the window, not much appeared amiss, but I soon discovered with astonishment that significant portions of our large trees had been violently twisted and broken, with other trunks sheared off entirely. Although I was incredibly grateful that our house was mostly spared, it took me many weeks to adjust to the fact that our yard would never be the same, and the shade we once took for granted would take years to grow back. Things have settled since, but exploring my feelings through verse has helped provide internal closure. I hope that anyone in similar distress may read these lines and fine some solace, hope, and peace through their storms.

When Tragedy Strikes

A maelstrom brewing

I didn’t know

I only heard the rain

Just like any other storm…until I saw the pane

Something amiss

I could tell

Yet shushed my rising nerves

Fear still hiding beneath the swell

Anticipation of something worse

And ah, the wait!

Til clarity came

Confirming darkest fears

The storm I heard

Was not just rain

But torrents of heaven’s tears

Splish and splash

The worst was past

Yet rain continued still

The vigor of life

Once there, now gone

Wrenched against its will

Shattered, shaken

Wrangled, broken

Nevermore the same

Remember, remember

Remember the sun

Will shine down once again



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