365 Days of Reflection
“Are you back in your house?”
I must get asked that at least once a day. It’s a common question in this area to ask and to be asked. “How much water did you get?” “Did so-and-so flood, too?” “Is insurance giving you any problems?” are also just as common.
As of today, August 10, 2017, we are not in our house. We are close, but not there yet. So it sits there, mocking me, with its new floors and countertops and promises that this will all be forgotten one day. I would give anything to walk into my new door, get something out of my new fridge, and sit there.
That’s just not going to happen today.
We didn’t get as much water as a lot of people. We got about 8” and that was just enough to ruin everything. The things that didn’t touch water weren’t in the clear, either. Water sat in our house for 3 days so everything in our home needed to be tossed because of mold. Throwing things away wasn’t particularly easy, but the thing about survival is you put those kinds of emotions aside.
Going through something like the flood makes you numb, albeit frightened, but mostly numb. You get up and go with the motions. Keep, toss, keep, toss. For days we ate what churchs provided, we were covered in drywall dust, we walked around like zombies with drywall saws in our hands. We were thankful for the beds and AC-cooled rooms that we were provided. Showers were a God-send. We were able to get clean and have a place to cry alone.
My children handled it pretty well. They were understandably upset about losing toys, but they seemed to move on rather quickly. It wasn’t until they got back into their schools 6 months later that they showed some stress over everything. They referred to the flood a lot and were scared when it rained. They immediately went to “I must have lost it in the flood” if they were unable to locate anything. At school, they were withdrawn and didn’t socialize. Everything had an impact on them.
My husband and I took advantage of the free counseling the kid’s schools offered. We still talk openly about house progress and express any fears we have with anything flood-related. I think it’s important to have my kids see normal emotions and how you handle them. Our fears are justified and they need to see that in action.
Right now we live in our own guest house. It’s tiny, to say the least. We have one bathroom and no doors. There isn’t a dishwasher or a bathtub, just a tiny shower. We all share a bedroom. It isn’t ideal, but I am thankful for it every single day.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. One day (hopefully soon) will be our own moving day. I do have aggravation over the rebuilding process, of course. Things aren’t happening fast enough for my liking, but that’s the thing about all of this … it is totally out of my control.
I am not afraid of the future. I did not put down ceramic tile floors. I am not scared of this happening again. Weather is out of my control. IF we experience this again, well, we would know exactly what to do and how to prepare. I would know how to lay flooring and run electrical. I could tell you the dimensions of every room in our house for new drywall. We would do it all again if it happens. I refuse to live life in fear.
If the flood has taught me anything, other than everything you need to know about flood zoning, it’s that when everything is taken from you and you are left standing with your family, that is the only thing that is worth saving. I heard “It’s just stuff” so many times that I lost count. It hurt to lose all of my pictures from my childhood and to see my wedding dress ruined. We put our tangible memories on the curb and cried. I still have a hard time knowing that the Bible my Grandmother passed down to me is in some dump somewhere.
I have what matters most. We came out alive and unhurt. One day we will see August 15th on the calendar and say “Ohhhh yeah remember when that happened.” It will come.