Re: Hurricanes, Survivors and Children

Thank you for this very insightful look into a disaster. The hurricanes are temporary while the damage is quite permanent. Will the social workers come back a second time?

One has to wonder not only where the families are in the face of disaster, but where are they the rest of the year as well. I have found it quite common to meet survivors who rarely see their families, not just in Florida but elsewhere as well. Survivors are left to fend for themselves. Frankly, it is often their choice. They “don’t want to be a burden to their children” or they are too proud to ask Jewish agencies for assistance. Many are still “hiding”…not wanting their names to be on Jewish lists. And still others have been refused assistance from Jewish agencies who supposedly lack funding. I say this with sarcasm because I find that the executives of these Jewish agencies still bring home enormous salaries.

But I have to put some of the responsibility on the children of survivors who cannot get past the anger at their parents to do what is right. It is time to forgive our parents their scars and imperfections and deal with their frailties and needs. It is time to “disobey” our parents and interfere in their care. It is time to stick our noses in their business to make sure they are safe and cared for. It is time to ask the tough questions—do you have a living will? do you have a will? where is it? do you have enough money to pay for your medicine? are you sure you should still be driving? who can you call if there is an emergency? and …how about a visit?
Isabel Alcoff