I wish I could post that it was all a dream, but it isn't.
The information continues to trickle in from here and there......and each time we hear a bit of information about someone and how we are all connected, the world gets smaller and smaller.
The number of missing has climbed back up to over 17. It occured to enforcements today that there were contractors and security that were on the premise. Some were from as far away as the west coast. And since the main company doesn't keep track of which contractors do what (except to provide a security pass - which the headquaters was blown to smitherines) it's like trying to piece an ever changing puzzle together while the shapes keep morphing.
They believe that 17 people are somewhere inside the property. They are calling it a recovery effort, not search and rescue. The bodies that have been recovered were located deep under the plant in tunnels that run under the mill. There has been no mention of how badly their bodies were burned. I can't say enough good things about how the community is protecting their own people from the media. No one will share information to the media about the families. Teams have been set up to shield the families from the national media. No names are being released even yet. The standard reply is 'no comment'. The only reason we know who it is is because people are sharing privately. Word is spreading as quickly as the fire. Community is a powerful thing.
And my friend at the burn unit.........get this - his organs are still working and he's survived 3 surgeries today. What we thought was seriously going to be a funeral isn't happening. The doctors are saying that they believe that he is going to live based on his improvement in the past 12 hours. They are calling it a miracle.
I've been on the phone on and off with my daughter's daddy today gathering and exchanging information. He shares things I didn't know and I share what he wasn't aware of. He went back to the church this evening to assist in the clean up of the grounds and church facility and commented on the almost 5 gallon bucket full of cigarette butts that he picked up off the lawn in front of the church. It seemed to bother him that they couldn't use the receptacle for their trash. I can't even begin to fathom the amount of stress and nicotine that was pulsing through the veins of rescue workers, firefighters, law enforcement, Red Cross Volunteers, community members, and most off all - family members. If a cigarette helped the cope - I think I have to say puff on, honey.
I knew my cell phone and home phone had been busy today but I didn't realize that I have answered over 112 phone calls today. My caller ID is full and as I clicked through the names, I was reminded of how we are all connected. Those who open their hearts open themselves to more connections. Everyone knows someone. I realized that I knew people that I didn't know that I knew. I'm learning who was married and related to who. The world is such a s.m.a.l.l. place. I've been gone from there for over 8 years but it still has a tug on my heart at times. This is one of those times.
I've even had local friends today calling me to see if I knew that there was an accident in my home town and when I shared that I did and had a connection to some of them, their calls turned to comfort and offers of prayer for not only those I personally know but for everyone.
I talked with someone (and you tell me if you think I'm being too sensitive) but as I was telling her about the things Madeline told me, she said, "Not to interrupt you (which she was) but I already know all that, I've been watching CNN all morning." When I met her with just silence (for I was in a rude shock), she said, "don't take that the way it sounded." I just said, "I need to go. Bye." I'm thinking to myself for the rest of the day - how else was I supposed to take it? There have been times I've listened to this woman go on and on sometimes with her talk, even when I'm not interested and I do it because she needs someone to listen while she thinks out loud. She hurt me today. Am I being too sensitive? I care about her and our friendship so I'm going to have to figure out a way to reconcile my hurt feelings so they don't get between us. A few days of cooling off might be able to help.
Of course the rumor mill is rampant.....safety issues within the plant that went unaddressed, and speculation about the future of the refinery.....seem to be keeping trouble makers busy. Where there is good....there seems to be negativity and trouble making close by :(
All that to say that I hope you'll continue to keep that community and those families in your prayers and the days and weeks ahead unfold the future. Bodies need to heal and more importantly and more difficult - souls need to heal.