As residents of Anchorage, we continue to experience the earthquake aftermath of aftershocks in our daily routines. I believe the ongoing count has surpassed 2,000 since Friday’s 7.0 quake, some registering as high as a magnitude of 5.4 with most being 2.0 or lower.
Our little ones cry when the house shakes. They don’t want to go to bed at night. We do our best to console their fears. Since the earthquake, they sleep with their bedroom doors open and the hall light on. If the “house moves” in the night, tears always follow.
This Monday, Big (our toddler son) started Occupational Therapy (OT). His last OT session in El Paso was in the last week of September. Due to the earthquake, the therapy group here is focusing on trauma based, anxiety related sessions to help children work through some of the emotions of the weekend.
Big began his session with the OT Director. Toward the end of his session, she provided an activity for Big, little sister and me to do to help work through some of the emotions from the earthquake. She asked Big and Sweet Pea to describe what happened and how they felt during the earthquake. Then she asked them to draw about it. Sweet Pea is an artist at heart and began drawing mommy, daddy, Big, and herself. Big said that he wanted to write words to tell what happened so we will remember. He scribbled ‘M’s” across three sheets of paper, explaining what each line said. “My bed moved, mommy got me, mommy catch TV, we snuggled together, the house moved….” They both focused on things that made them feel safe: Jesus, people, things and places-including grass from El Paso (which we had the last week before we left).
The director also shared a handout, outlining the psychological and emotional aftermath children may experience after an earthquake related to specific age groups. As we discussed them, we both noted that many of the same characteristics are experienced with a move. Lots of extra hugs and prayers in our home this week for the littles and mama!
As I write this, we just experienced another bigger aftershock.