It’s a weird feeling- grieving your home and all that was in it. It’s almost like losing a loved one. At first, you don’t really believe you’ve lost them. It just doesn’t quite sink in. But then you go to call them or come across an old picture, and the reality of it all begins to hit you. That’s where I’m at now.
When I leave the grocery store and accidentally start driving towards our house – it hits me! When I come across an old photograph taken in our home — it hits me! When I watch someone use a blanket, frying pan or handbag that looks similar to one I used to have – it hits me! Every day the reality of it all hits me in a new way. In the scheme of things, nothing is THAT big or THAT important. But when you lose it all at once, realizing loss after loss, it starts to take a toll on you emotionally.
At first, I didn’t have time to process the flood and all that it had taken from me. There wasn’t time to mourn. There wasn’t even time to count my losses. It was literally all thrown out into a big pile of trash before I had the chance to see it go. But now — now that our house is just concrete and framework– now I can take a step back and grieve. And let me tell you, grieving is a good thing!
Grieving any loss is natural and, more importantly, good for your mental health. As much as I would like to just forget all this ever happened and magically move on with my life, I can’t. It needs to be dealt with! Over the past few weeks, I’ve learned a thing or two about life after the flood. So I compiled a list of things I’ve found to be helpful during the grieving process.
Allow Yourself to Grieve
This is the first and most important tip I have to offer. I understand the pressure to shove all those unwanted emotions to the back of your mind and forget about them, but it’s just not healthy. It also doesn’t work long term. Acknowledging your loss and the effects it’s having on you will allow you to move on and recover more quickly.
No Loss is Too Small to Mourn
Allow yourself to mourn both the big and the small losses! I think we sometimes overlook the importance of the little things and make ourselves feel silly for mourning them. Now I realize you may have lost a lot of really expensive kitchen appliances, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that you lost your favorite $4 coffee mug. Go ahead and shed a tear for that brand new bar of soap you just bought or that rug you had freshly vacuumed. Allow yourself to mourn each loss as it comes so it doesn’t build up only to explode on you later.
I know, it’s hard to think about spending any money or time on you right now, but trust me, it’s worth it! Take a break from dealing with the flood and just relax. That might mean dinner with your husband, a bubble bath with your favorite glass of wine, or a grueling three-mile run. Whatever it is you do to relax, make time for it! And when you do — DON’T THINK/TALK/BREATHE ABOUT THE FLOOD! I mean it.
See Beyond Your Own Pain
While taking time for yourself is important, it’s also essential to take time for others. So many people have reached out to help others since the flood that you can’t help but pay it forward. Giving, especially when you’ve lost so much, is more of a blessing to you than it is to the recipient. Give your time, your ear, or your encouraging words. A little bit goes a long way in making someone’s day!
The aftermath of the flood is too much for you take on alone. Whether it’s physical, spiritual or emotional damage, allow yourself to ask for and receive help. There are so many organizations, federal programs and people out there that are ready and willing to help you, so please let them!
So go ahead, begin your grief journey with confidence that you WILL make it past this. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Rebuilding a house takes hard work, time and patience. The same goes for rebuilding your life. And it will be even stronger and more beautiful than before!
Brittnee Castille is a stay-at-home wife and mother who recently moved to Baton Rouge to be a part of a church plant. Although she is originally from Shreveport, she grew up in Lees Summit, Missouri. She returned to Louisiana to attend college and made it her home after meeting her husband Michael. She met Michael through mutual friends and hit it off instantly. They went from meeting to married in under 5 months and are still going strong almost three years later. They recently had their first child, Zion, who is almost a year old now. Zion is an adorable and strong willed little man who keeps her on her feet at all hours. Brittnee loves thrift store shopping, Pinterest browsing, and all things crunchy. She has always enjoyed writing, and recently got back into it after the Baton Rouge Flood. She hopes her creative outlet will inspire and encourage other moms.