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help - what to do about distraught mother

you all know that my family was in the Moore/OKC tornado on Monday.  my mom was in a school that was hit, but walked out alive and just bruised up.  we lost our horses and our pasture, etc. but we have our home and my parents still have theirs.

anyway, it's all just starting to hit my mom.  in fact, they found out today that one of the teachers who was hiding in the same closet as my mom lost her baby.  she was 7.5 months pregnant.  it was chaos after it hit, and people walked for miles trying to get home or find transportation.  apparently this pregnant teacher had to do a lot of walking with her 6-year-old daughter who was with her.  she mentioned that she hadn't felt the baby since the tornado, and it was confirmed today at an ultrasound that the baby was dead.

my mom is really having a hard time.  my dad and brother are having a hard time.  my brother has completely drawn into himself and lashes out in hurt; my dad goes between being extremely angry and hurtful to being sad and quiet.  there aren't enough counseling services available right now for every person hurting from this tragic event.

I've talked to my mom a few times today on the phone, and she's just crying and crying.  I know that it's a natural part of the grieving process.  I've done my fair share of crying, too.  I know she is not getting any consolation from my brother or dad right now, and I want to be able to help her.  thankfully, my H has really been taking care of me (emotionally and physically) while I come to terms with what's going on.  I want to help my mom, dad, and brother as well.  I don't know that I can do much for my dad and brother right now, but I wish I just knew what to say or do to help my mom get through this.

I convinced her to get out and run to the store to pick up a few things (batteries, something for lunch).  hopefully just being out of the house will help.

any words of advice?  I could really use a hug right now.  it's a really dark day for us.

Re: help - what to do about distraught mother

  • KeptInStitchesKeptInStitches the Northern Plains member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Oh sweetie. I'm so sorry.

    I don't know your mom, I don't know your family, but the best thing to do is to pick a task and follow through with it to the finish. Going to the store would be a good example.

    I lost my home as a kid due to a natural disaster - PM me if you need a shoulder to cry on.
  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    *hugs* I'm so sorry you and your family are going through all of this. I don't have any advice but you are all in my thoughts and prayers <3


  • Hugs <3 I don't have any great advice other than to just be as patient and loving as you can. This will certainly not get better in a day, but I know that you just being there to lend an ear and a shoulder will ease your mom's burden a little. And going out, getting some things done, and trying to bring back some normalcy will work its magic in time too. Really hoping your family's spirits are lifted soon; you are all in my thoughts.
  • I'm so sorry your family is having such a tough time.  I know there's a lot of work to be done and things over there are pretty chaotic, but if it's an option maybe you could do something with her that she enjoys to get her mind off of things.  Getting out of the house in itself should be good for her, but doing something fun and totally unrelated to the tornado might be even more helpful.  Again, I'm not sure if this is possible, but it could be worth a shot...

    My mom's a bit of a girly girl, so if I were in your shoes I'd probably take her out to get her nails done, or even just do an at-home spa day and uncork a bottle of wine.  It sounds petty and silly, but sometimes it helps just not to think about things for a little while.  The mess will still be there to clean up tomorrow.
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  • I'm so very sorry that your family has been through this!  Keep in mind that an experience like this is something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.  It's going to take time for all of you to heal, cope, and move on, and each person moves through that process differently.  I wouldn't push her (or yourself) too hard right now, but just do what you've been doing by staying in touch and offering daily support in the ways that would be most meaningful to her.  Make a meal, go for a walk, the mani/pedi idea is a good one, maybe a massage, take her to a movie.  Encourage her to get about doing the day to day things she enjoys, reading, exercise, cooking, seeing friends, etc.  And be patient.  If you don't see any signs of improvement in the next 30-60 days, watch her carefully for depression and PTSD.  If you can't get into a counsellor, a call to her MD might be helpful too. 

    Again, so very sorry!  Take care of yourself and your family, be patient, be kind to yourself.  We are all thinking of you and your whole community!
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  • Huge hugs to you.  I'm so sorry your family is going through this.  I second the idea of counseling.  I would think that organizations are sending such services to the area like the Salvation Army...I know they can't reach everyone though.

    http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/22377258/salvation-army-sending-counselors-to-oklahoma-after-tornado

    Is she religious at all?  Spending some time at church and praying about it might help if she is.  Can you get involved in volunteering to help your neighbors or are you guys too hard hit yourselves to do that?  Sometimes helping others when you need help yourself is the best medicine.

  • thanks everyone.  I was able to give her a free phone-line service (and I might take advantage of it myself).  she will be busy working with other teachers and faculty, so maybe that will help.  she went up there for a couple hours yesterday, and today she's going back for a few hours.  thanks for the advice and thoughtful comments.
  • Aww, that is awful to hear that, so sad. I really wish I could help you, but the only advice I can really give is just be there for your mom to talk to and spend time with. That way, she'll see how much you care.
  • 500days500days MA member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    I don't know you or your mother, but I just wanted you to know that I look up to educators like your mother. What has happened is a true tragedy and it's horrible that it affects our schools in such a way. You sound like such a sweet and caring daughter; and I'm sure that with your support you all will be able to heal in due time. My thoughts and prayers are with you!


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