Melissa Wormington has a way with words that is honest and heartfelt. You feel like you know her, like you are walking through life with her.
I haven’t officially met Melissa, but her daughter Makenna is friends with Johnathan’s niece. I came face-to-face with Melissa for the first time shortly after her home was destroyed in the Goderich tornado on August 21, 2011, and heard part of her story first-hand that day, as she told it to John’s brother-in-law’s parents, her neighbours.
Melissa was at home making cookies that sunny summer afternoon, as her kids played nearby. Her husband, Jeff, a volunteer fireman, was at the fire hall, washing his pick-up truck. Suddenly, the power went out, and a few minutes later, her family safely in the storage room in the basement, Melissa heard rain and wind “pounding on the outside walls.” Above them, the noise of things breaking and crashing was deafening.
Thinking it was merely a quick and severe thunderstorm, Melissa didn’t stay put in the basement after Jeff decided to see what had happened outside.
I peeked around the top of the basement stairs into our front hall and came face to face with the front door to our house, the storm door, laying right there on the floor in front of me, as well as leaves, dirt, stones and just…debris. I could see the screen door outside on the porch. It was still pouring rain. I saw that our living room window was smashed.
Out on the street, they were astounded with the destruction from what they assumed was a “thunderstorm”.
Read what happened next on Melissa’s post Tornado – Sunday August 21: Part 1.
Her first-hand experience is raw and moving. She has since posted about the tornado’s effects on her family, her neighbours, and the rest of the town several times. If you want to gain an understanding about what it was like for tornado victims, Melissa’s blog is a fantastic place to start.
This quote is from her post “Tornado in Goderich: Trauma”
At my office we have lots of paperwork and reading material on trauma, surviving it and the effect it has on families. Some of it was centred around the events of September 11 2001. I had read it when I came across it, and have attended workshops in the past about the effects of trauma on families…most of those relating to the effects of witnessing or experiencing domestic or child abuse. But none of it really stuck with me over the years.
Now I get it.
Melissa has been an inspiration for her fellow citizens, and has told her story several different times to journalists and filmmakers and others. Her story is also available in the locally-published compilation of stories, Not Like Any Other Sunday.
Thank you, Melissa, for your humility and honesty, for your transparency.
You can read all of Melissa’s posts about the Goderich tornado here.
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