When Floods Happen to Good People
My first taste of a natural disaster on a personal level was this week. Monday night our home took in 1.5 feet of water. It happened so incredibly fast. We evacuated “just to be safe” on Monday morning. I just knew that we were overreacting and that we would be back home the next day. All day Monday I kept up with social media from people in the area so I could track the water levels. Family members that live close to us would send me photos of our home so I could get hourly updates on where things stood. Monday seemed to go on forever. By 7:00 pm I was at the point where I was tired of hanging on and if it was going to happen, then let it happen. At least I knew and could start planning.
When I received confirmation that yes … my home was one of tens of thousands that took on water, I began feeling emotions I have never felt. My mind became a vessel for things that I have never thought. My body was numb, shaky, in pain. Sleep was no longer a necessity. Seeing my life change and shift minute by minute was gut wrenching.
I began to experience different stages of loss. We are good people. We try to help everyone that comes across our path that needs assistance. Why was this happening?
The Stages of Loss
The first stage was sadness. I cried all night and the better part of the day. I sat in the bathroom countless times sobbing. I tried to hide it from my kids, but they knew. Everyone knew. I was a walking red-eyed zombie who broke down in the hardware store while trying to find drywall saws. I couldn’t stop and nothing positive that I heard from people made it better.
I began to feel scared. Terrified even. Where would we go? What all had we lost? How would we replace it? What about my children … what about school? How do I explain this to them? How long will we be without a home? Will we be ok? So many questions raced around in my head, one after the other. Questions that no one had an answer to.
Slowly I began to feel deep anger. I wanted to be mad at SOMETHING or someone. You can’t get angry at water, though. I tried. Everything about the situation angered me. I was angry at the weather and the house itself and my husband because he forgot to pick certain things up even though I could have very easily done it myself. I was angry at the news for not covering it enough. I was angry at the people whose homes didn’t get water and who blasted statuses on Facebook on how “blessed” they were. I was angry at anything and everything. This isn’t fair at all. Why is this happening to us?
Today I feel gratitude. I am grateful for the people who have checked on us, offered us laundry service, asked “What do you need? How can I help?” I am grateful that we are safe and that albeit pretty ruined, our home is not a total loss. We will put some elbow grease into it and make it what it was before this happened. I am very grateful for the home that we are currently staying in and for family that embraced us when we had nowhere else to go.
When something of this magnitude happens, it’s ok to cry and be mad. Every emotion that you feel is warranted and normal. Take a moment to reflect on the circumstances. Cry as often as you need to. Talk to your family about your frustrations and how you feel. Allow yourself to feel everything that you need to.
Pick yourself up and try again. A flood does not pick or choose whose life it’s going to mess up. The person across the street who is sitting in a dry home while you are throwing everything that ever meant anything to you isn’t any more blessed than you. You are not being punished, although it might feel as if you are. Realize that recovering will take time. We are all blessed right now, even during this horrible time. It might not feel like it to some of you, but you will get there.
And if you are still angry, take it out on that drywall that needs to be removed.