It has been wonderful to see our families, relaxing to have two weeks of (almost) no work, restful to spend lots of time sleeping, therapeutic to talk about our experience with family and with a therapist. It’s also been frustrating to be in the States for the reasons that being here always frustrate me combined with post traumatic stress and a whole host of complex post-earthquake feelings that I’m in the process of sorting out.
I’ve been afraid to be alone since the earthquake. Ben and I both startle easily these days and continue to feel the earth shake, even here in North Carolina. We’re grieving and I find that I can finally cry from time to time, which feels really really good. When I think about what happened though, I mostly get angry. Some of this is anger at myself for things I did and didn’t do after the earthquake, though most of it is anger at God and anger at the pre- and post- e.q. injustices that I'm constantly faced with in Haiti. We also both feel guilty (and have learned in our therapy that this is called “survivor’s guilt”) – guilty that we’re alive when so many others were killed, that our house is standing when so many others aren’t, for how little we lost, and that we were able to leave for two weeks to recuperate simply because we are not materially poor Haitians. More injustice.
Many people have asked if we’re ready to go back to Haiti on Wednesday. The answer is yes. In Haiti we don’t need to try to explain what we’re going through. Everyone around us in Haiti was there and gets it. Having had this experience has bonded us to Haiti (not to mention to our friends, neighbors and colleagues there) in a new way. For the time being, there’s nowhere else I want to be. And in spite of the earthquake, I miss what has been my home for a year and a half. I miss my cat. I miss being in my own space.
I think I also need to be in Haiti to see what I can only hope will be the redemption of all of the loss, destruction and suffering caused by the earthquake. I hope that being back in Haiti I will see and experience continued healing, both for myself and for Port-Au-Prince.