Fatigue, Fear Of The Unknown And Undeniable Change For Tennessee

Hendersonville by C. Marie Photography

I had several conversations last night with different people from around the state from Chattanooga to Memphis to where I live. We are still having some communication black outs in rural parts of the state, but people are working harder than I’ve ever seen in a different ways utilizing their skills, their talents and breaking their backs to wade through waters or tear down rubble. Or to get the message out and not all of that can be done online because so many people just don’t have the Internet or don’t know how to use it for communicating.

People from Memphis have headed to Jackson and Tipton/Dyer Counties to help out. I have met other folks that still weren’t aware of the damage in Dyersburg in the very area I live in as I discussed and explained here earlier this week.

I am a woman that loves communication and news so each time I talk to a new person who just didn’t know the extent of this past week, a puppy dies in my soul.  It is what it is, but it doesn’t mean I like it.

Fatigue is a wily beast. I’m seeing cracks on Twitter and Facebook from all across the middle and west Tennessee of exhausted people that see no end in sight. In the non-virtual world, the reality that this can’t be fixed immediately is setting in.  The reality that are more dead going to be uncovered, that houses are going to be bulldozed, the health issues are real, that the water shortage in Nashville is a very pressing issue. (In a sidenote, you can follow Hands On Nashville on Twitter for immediate needs. From emergency food boxes to how people who are physically able to help with the rubble but can do administrative volunteering, go to that resource this very moment. Twitter is free, sign up today.)

I haven’t heard about areas like Dyersburg though. I have no idea what to tell you regarding their water  because I haven’t been able to find anything on

Flooding in Ashland City

the subject. Clarksville has drinking water but their sewage treatment facility is shut down. Four schools in Cheatham County are shut down for the rest of the year. Cheatham County took a huge hit with AO Smith being underwater which employees people from three counties. Roughly 3,500 jobs are gone and the recovery there is going to be slow and tedious. Wilson County has put out a call for help as well. Areas of Hendersonville, according to some of my family members, will be without online capabilities until after May 20th.

And just like a funeral, when their are moments of surreal solidarity, these “wakes” don’t last forever. This flood has been like a funeral setting in many ways. The crisis and loss happens with shocking sudden and clarifying brutality and then slowly without warning, life seeps back in. And life now for people in certain areas of this state is not going to be what is was even eight days ago. It’s going to be a new life. Clean up efforts will take months. After rubble is removed from the roads, hidden damage in house and businesses will have to be assessed as well.

Basic recovery efforts are still happening. As of Thursday, there were a few people still trapped in their homes in Nashville. In lesser known areas, there are reports that victims are just wandering around, dazed and shocked in areas like Inglewood, Donelson and Old Hickory.

Steve Ross has been working on several individual resource pages for some of the areas in West Tennessee that are traditionally more isolated that we will have up today. Hopefully, that will help those people who are seeking information about volunteering and relief efforts.

For those folks that don’t have Internet, it’s going to be community face-to-face efforts and leaning on neighbors like never before.

Fatigue has already set in.  As I said before and this is only concerned advice from the outside looking in, this isn’t going to be “fixed” overnight. Right now just remember, you are only as good in relief efforts if you are rested, hydrated and strong. Victims will need that strength as you help them as I told a dear friend in Nashville last night. You can’t figuratively carry other and their tragedy if you aren’t at top form.

And some people are going to deal with this in ways that might be different. They will seek normalcy and the familiar in any way they can. Sometimes people don’t act out of character. Everyone is in crisis, even if they don’t acknowledge it.

Life will go on, but it will be different. Just like after a funeral, the loss is there but people deal with it in various and sometimes surprising ways.

This is the new normal.

Photo credits here and here

3 comments for “Fatigue, Fear Of The Unknown And Undeniable Change For Tennessee

  1. Vvixen
    May 9, 2010 at 10:11 am

    The volunteer efforts are to be commended, but they can only do so much to repair the massive damage that will be uncovered as the flood waters recede. I think FEMA will have to step up to the plate and do a much better job than it did in the wake of Katrina, to help get this state back on its feet. I certainly hope that there won’t be people in Dyersburg or Nashville living in trailers behind their ruined houses years after the disaster like in N.O., because they’re still waiting on assistance to rebuild. The delayed and inadequate federal response to Katrina is an ongoing shame and it better not happen again in Tennessee.

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