NEW ORLEANS — Eight-year-old Michael Jackson wonders if his sadness will ever end. We first found him in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina — realizing his whole world had changed.
"It took my bike, it took my house," Jackson recalls. "They took my clothes, my games, they took everything."
More than a year later, his mother, Tangela Miller, says Michael still struggles with what Katrina taught him about great loss.
"We lost a lot," she says. "We didn't just lose our homes."
"People having dreams — I hope they don't have dreams I had about the hurricane," he says.
Michael's nightmares made his mother decide he needed to be home.
"My children were my motivation for coming back," she says.
Ann Curry: To heal them?
Tangela Miller: To make them feel whole to me.
It's slow going.
"It gets painful when I think about it," Michael says.
Like so many children, his fear of another hurricane is compounded by how long it's taking for life to get back to normal. The family crammed into a tiny FEMA trailer on their lawn for six months, as room by room, they cleaned, renovated their house themselves, using life savings, waiting for insurance to pay.
Today, Michael showed the work in progress. And along with the house, he too is emerging from the storm — gaining structure and connectedness from school, and with the help of a counselor, having fewer nightmares.
"I see progress in him, and it brings a smile every time I think about it," his mother says.
One child among many learning another lesson from Katrina — the value of resilience and hope.
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