More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife covers many aspects of the dying and grieving process and sheds light on euthanasia, suicide, near-death experience, and spirit visits after the passing of a loved one. ___________________________________________

Friday, May 21, 2010

Being an Empath When Catastrophe Occurs

The first weekend in May 2010 brought an event to Nashville that those who live here will never forget. We knew we were in for some heavy storms, but we had no idea we were about to be flooded by a deluge of water that would swell rivers, lakes, and creeks to the point that more than 9,600 homes in addition to hundreds of businesses, vehicles, livestock, and human lives were destroyed. 
As twenty inches of rain fell in about twelve hours, the rivers rose and kept rising for two days until they crested at about fifty feet above average.

People were evacuated, some were rescued by boat, and others were without electricity and stuck on their side of the road where bridges and roadways had been washed out. Business and tourism was called to a halt as people tried to take in the shock of what had happened. Only when the waters receded enough for residents to return home, did they realized how bad the situation really was. One of the city's two water treatment plants was damaged and unable to operate for more than ten days, so all of Davidson County was put on a mandatory 50% reduction of water usage. Schools were flooded so bad in Cheatham County that the 2009-2010 school year was brought to an end. Music City was declared a state of emergency and FEMA was called in to assist. There were billions of dollars worth of damage, twenty-seven lives lost, and homes completely swept off their foundation and pushed by the raging current down the street (see the video: ) like something you might see in a horror movie. But the horror was real.

Yet, many of you (including my parents, who live in Atlanta) didn't even know about it. Why? Because the media was covering the terrorist attempt in New York and the oil spill in the Gulf.

You can imagine how this affected those who are spiritually sensitive to the suffering of others or of Mother Gaia herself. For several weeks prior to the flood, my daughter-in-law felt angry but was puzzled as to why. Once the flood came, she felt a release and calm again. She was taking on the feelings of the Mother planet as she responded to our blatant misuse of her resources.

My emotional empathy began the day after the storm. I began feeling depressed and sad—almost to the point of tears, but physically, I had not been affected. Our property was safe; our children didn't have any damage to their homes or cars—in fact, my daughter and her husband were vacationing in Florida and I was watching their 10-month-old son. It wasn't until Tuesday that I learned that one of my team mates lost everything (even her hybrid car) when her home on the Harpeth River flooded. Another team mate's brother lived near the same area, and his home was also destroyed.

Yet the spirit of Nashville people was not angry, nor sad, nor depressed. They were pulling together to help one another gut their homes, and offering encouragement that even though the insurance companies would not pay for replacement or repair, they would get through it because they would work together to make sure everyone's needs were met. Being a celebrity city, several Nashville stars came together to produce benefit concerts and donated their own money to charities to help others rebuild.

The strong feelings of sorrow and helplessness continued to increase until I found a way to release it by becoming a clearing house for posting information online to help people know about community meetings, donation stations, and other events to help victims and volunteers find one another. Having that outlet helped a lot but I still continued to have underlying feelings of depression. That's when the phone calls and emails started.

People I had not heard from in a while started sending encouraging emails saying they were thinking about me; One left uplifting voice messages (I had retreated so much that I was not even answering my phone) to say she was sending me love and light. That made a huge difference. Their prayers and sending positive energy helped clear me of most of the despair I was feeling, but I was still not back to my usual jovial self and the hot flashes were still raging.

Last Saturday morning, my husband had watched me mope about long enough. He knew there was a spiritual cause for my emotional despair, so he insisted that I allow him to perform Hands of Light (a technique taught by Barbara Ann Brennan) energy work on me.  I'll speak more about this in a second part tomorrow.


You might enjoy reading my book, More Than Meets the Eye True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife, which is  available on



Sun Singer said...

Those of us who watch the Weather Channel saw extensive coverage of Nashville's flood. I felt doubly bad about it, seeing downtown street scenes from an area I'd most recently been to a few months earlier for a Gordon Lightfoot concert at the Ryman. (I never heard whether the Ryman was damaged or not.)

Being empathic is, at times, something or a curse--or, at least, a challenge--when large scale disasters occur. One feels that s/he himself is being carried by the winds or floodwaters with little control over where it will all end.


Yvonne Perry said...

Thanks for the encouraging words, Malcomb. The historic Ryman Auditorium is located on a hill above lower Broadway and the riverfront and thankfully did not experience any flooding.