I’m currently sitting here typing this feeling all the feels and honestly.
I am not ashamed to say that I have no idea where to start, but I have to start somewhere, right? First things first, everything feels so big and there is so much that needs to be done after this storm. I’m currently looking at my community with so much sadness in my heart wondering how so much devastation is possible from a hurricane. We have beat so many before, but not this one. We couldn’t outrun Ida.
Seeing my childhood home and my grandmother’s home in a condition I never have has left me feeling empty and numb. I wonder how these places that were a safe haven for me took on such a brutal beating. They don’t deserve it. No one deserves to feel the wrath of mother nature in this way.
No one deserves to lose their safe haven to a storm.
I will transition by saying I made a bad choice. I stayed for this storm and honestly it was the most horrific and terrorizing experience of my entire life. Violent would be the right word to describe this storm. I watched the ground in my back yard split, exhale and uproot my oak tree in my back yard. If you have watched a tree uproot, you know what I mean by watching the ground exhale…
I held my window for nearly five hours feeling it expand and contract. Have you ever experienced feeling your window expand and contract? I hope not. With each wind gust, I wondered if I was strong enough to do the job. I cried and prayed my way through those five hours with my family on the other end of the line who desperately wished they could rescue me from the terror I was enduring.
This was my fault. I take full ownership for making a poor choice.
I take ownership for staying for the hurricane and I learned a lesson that I can pass on to anyone who reads this. There are many more details of that night that I am trying to block from my mind. I know if you stayed, you are trying to erase these moments too. I have no shame in saying that any wind gust or rain shower will bring back memories for a while. The last few days of rain made my heart flutter a bit and I know the first roll of thunder will send chills up my spine. This too shall pass.
This is where I am currently at with this situation. So now I am turning to you. When is the calm, when all of the homes are rebuilt? When every single person I know and love finds their safe haven again. Is it when the schools are back up and running or when the line for gas goes back to normal? Helpless. Right now I feel totally helpless in this situation and this feels like an endless game of chess. What’s the next move?
Every major headline reads, “Hurricane Ida devastated South East Louisiana” flooding every single one of my social media news feeds. I’m having a hard time keeping my head above water when everything around me (and you) looks the way It does. I’m having a hard time staying positive when every single person I know is dealing with the same reality. I sit in shock and disbelief that people I know and love do not have a home to go back to.
Reality right now feels like the storm is still spinning and making waves.
I am going to do everything I can right now to stay positive, but I am here to admit that I know without a shadow of a doubt that it will be a struggle. It’s all about the mindset and I (you) have to get your mindset right. We have to give ourselves the time we need to get through the storm that is happening in our daily lives and our minds. It WILL take time and right now I am on a day to day basis. Some days are great and others involve tissues and letting my feelings out.
The calm after the storm. They never really talk about that do they? The focus is usually more on the “before,” but the after is where I am at right now. The after is where we are all at. The branches will be picked up, the power will come back on and the grocery store shelves will be restocked, but what’s next?
I have talked to so many people about this who have an equal passion for helping in all capacities, but we don’t seem to know what the calm will feel and or look like. One thing we know for sure, our community became stronger because of this storm. We have banned together gathered around branches, shingles and debris giving a hand to our neighbor and any stranger in obvious need of help. I have personally witnessed how a cold bottle of gatorade or a kool pop has brought smiles to faces of children and grown men.
Community. I think that is the calm after the storm.
I believe it’s remembering that when things go back to “normal” vaccinated or unvaccinated, elephant or donkey doesn’t mean a thing when your neighbor needs their roof “tarped” or may just need a helping hand to clear out every belonging they have ever known. I’ll leave you with this, I wouldn’t want to weather a storm in any other area than South East Louisiana where gumbo, jambalaya and étouffée can be cooked in all weather conditions.
To all of you who have been affected by the storm, my heart goes out to you. I’m praying for you and I hope all who read this are praying for you too.