It's been about 3 weeks since hurricane Irma came through and kicked us out of our homes, forcing us to make decisions no one should ever HAVE to make. With the severity of the storm that was to over take us, many of use were left wondering if we would even have houses to come home to- we wondered if our home would be there when the sun rose on Monday morning.
Late that Friday night I started packing, things like medications, water & emergency food supplies, flashlights & batteries were a given. By early Saturday morning I stood looking around my house, trying to think about what I really needed and what I could do without for a few days, but it went beyond that. It wasn't as if I was going on vacation, I had to make decisions within a matter of hours of what things would I be hurt to lose, what of all my belongings would devastate me to no longer have.
My husband of course gathered his game systems, for me it was some momentos of lost loved ones- and treasured items from others still alive- a picture my grandmother colored with me and had signed her name to, a stuffed llama a family friend had given me, a Disney World frame that reminded me of all our family vacations, a blanket that kept my mother warm through her battle with cancer (that she had one) and that had seen me through the good & the bad in my life. But then the time came to have my son pack his posessions. Even at 5 I wanted him to know that there was a chance we wouldn't have a home to come back to and he should gather the toys the meant the most to him.
We left Saturday afternoon, thankfully a friend of the family had offered her home in a much safer and stable location that allowed us to take our pets, But loading up the car and driving away from my home was one of the hardest things I'd ever done, it was such a heart breaking moment, and in that moment my security was shattered, my thoughts were consumed with the idea that I may never return home.
Through Saturday night, and Sunday we did our best to keep busy, as the weather worsened we kept watch on the storm, with baited breath every new update about the storm we wondered what was going on back home. As the storm made it through, and night turned to day, we felt tension lifting, news from family that had stayed behind that our homes stood their ground faithfully allowed us to breath a sigh of relife, coming home, climbing the stairs, and opening the front door was such an amazing feeling. Looking through my house - though without electric- I was able to see that minus a small leak we had made it through unharmed.
We were the lucky ones, we didn't have electric, but my parents (who live right across the street) did, so we stayed there for the next 5 days until the electric came back on. There were others who didn't fare so well, others lost their homes, and others still lost their lives. Even though our homes & lives were spared, it was a traumatic experience for all involved. I've heard from countless people who were overly tired, unable to focus, and some just an overall feeling of sadness.
3 Weeks later and I feel like things are FINALLY getting back to normal, stores are now getting steady streams of eggs, bread and milk again, all our evacuation supplies & momentos have been put back where they belong, I've finally gotten a decent nights sleep, and my house is feeling like home again. For our Florida friends and family, if you find yourself still feeling tired and worn down, allow yourself to rest, and allow yourself time to heal. We will come back from this, we wil be FLORIDA STRONG!
To help those affected by hurricane Irma, please consider donating to your favorite reliefe charity organizaion.
(And lets not forget to continue to pray for an support not only Florida, but also those affected by Harvey & Maria.)