“After Hurricane Katrina, I went to New Orleans for work. We were sent in days after the storm and due to the shortage of personnel and equipment, anyone with a boat and healthy was sent out to do search and rescue. We would go to any house that hadn’t been marked and check for survivors. Usually, the fire and rescue would cut holes in the roof, yell inside, and wait for a response. Every now and then you would get that aroma when the hole was first cut and immediately know there was something dead inside. You would then get that sinking feeling in your gut and then anxiety as someone would go in and check. Well, one day the guy climbs on the roof and starts cutting. As he removes the section of roof, there is that smell and that feeling of depression sets in. Then, miraculously, you hear a faint voice. The rescue crew rushes over and eventually exit with a man in his late 70’s I am guessing. He sat down in the boat and was just blank. No reactions, no words, nothing. He sat like that the entire ride back and never really moved. Turns out, his wife had passed days prior to us getting there and he sat in that hot, humid, dark, nasty attic with his wife’s rotting corpse. In my short life I’ve started to realize that I am more affected by seeing someone else grieve, more so than my own grief.”


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