The devastating tornado in Joplin was especially devastating for a number of children who have been orphaned by it.
The term “orphan” seems almost like an anachronism, something that was far more common in the past. And yet children are still orphaned, and when it happens it’s one of the most dreadful experiences a child can have:
“The trauma is deep. The wound is deep. Being orphaned is what we call a forever loss,” Dr. Jane Aronson, Chief Executive of Worldwide Orphans Foundation, said on Friday.
In the case of the Joplin orphans, relatives and others have stepped up to try as best they can to carry on for the parents who have died. Two who are described in the article are a 21-year-old sister who has taken on her younger siblings as her responsibility, and an ex-husband who is not the father of the surviving child but who is caring for him anyway.
It will be quite a task, although not an impossible one. Here’s the child, five-year old Garrett LeClere, speaking:
“I feel sorry for my parents,” he said. “They wasted their lives saving me.”
There was room enough in the family bathtub for only Garrett and his sister to weather the storm in Phil Campbell. The boy remembers the tub spinning and being lifted before he landed hard 200 yards from his leveled home.
“I heard myself scream really loud. The hurt was really painful,” he said.
I believe that no such sacrifices are wasted. And I hope Garrett will grow up to feel that way about his parents, too.