Healing Through Journaling Five Years After the Storm

If it had not have been for the disaster, we might never have known how strong we really are and how many friends we really have.

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In May of 2011, a beautiful day suddenly spawned a tornado that took the lives of 161 people in Joplin, Mississippi. Five years after the disaster, the town has largely rebuilt itself—but for some, healing is a longer process. Ann Leach is a grief relief coach and a Joplin resident whose home was destroyed by the storm. Recognizing the need for many to privately process their grief, she started a project called Journal Joplin. Residents impacted by the tornado have told their stories and processed their feelings by creating these journals, ultimately taking one more important step in the process of rebuilding their lives.