Sitting here now, I wish I’d have written this days ago. I couldn’t, though. The feelings were too overwhelming and the fear took my words away. Now, however muted, I need to put them out there- if for nothing more than myself.
I’m only acutely aware that today is Monday because it is Labor Day. I can’t tell you what day Harvey first hit Rockport, or how long it hovered over Houston before it came in for its second landfall right here at home. For over a week I’ve lived having no concept of what day it’s been. Maybe today is finally the day that the calendar begins to make sense again. I can only hope.
For days we only slept in spurts between harrowing news broadcasts. I still taste the panic I felt the night I listened to an elderly Port Arthur woman call in to the news hyperventilating, water a foot up her recliner and begging to be rescued. I looked over at Arick and saw that he, too, was struggling with feelings of complete helplessness and fear. If we’d had a boat I think we’d have been on our way to find that woman. All I can think about now is that I hope she was rescued. I pray every night that she isn’t one of the growing death toll left in Harvey’s wake.
I’ve struggled so much with social media the past few days. I’ve so many friends who live in other states and seeing posts not related to Harvey left me with a strange feeling. It was almost as if the lives of every person in Southeast Texas was put on pause. Houston was on pause. But everywhere else, life carried on.
I’ve watched as people I know and love lost everything they have. Family, like my sister, friends that I’ve known as far back as my memory goes, even NICU nurses who took care of Avery. I’ve felt tremendous guilt that we’ve only endured days with no water and hours with no power. I’ve seen houses stripped empty, down to concrete and two by fours. Belongings floating in murky floodwaters. And I’ve heard that old adage so many times…
“They were only things, and things can be replaced.” The truth is, most of it can. Sofas, tables, beds and clothes come and go. Some things, though- some things you only get one of. My children’s baby books. My childhood pictures. The tiny footprints of my first son who died. The pictures of him. Avery’s NICU mementos. The only pictures I have of my Dad. Things that I’ve picked up over the course of nearly 35 years of life. All the things that make me, me. Snippets of the lives of every member of a family. You can’t get that back. I beg you to remember this before you unintentionally trivialize a grieving persons “things.”
And, I’ve watched people come together in such a unique way this past week. Private citizens have come together to save lives and feed the hungry. A non government organization was more prompt and prolific in the early hours and days at conducting rescues than was the government. I can’t say that this surprises me. But it definitely gives me hope. So much hope.
Today, we are all praying for normalcy. For the water to return and businesses to open again. Praying for the day that we don’t need help. But while we do, you can bet that you’ll hear a whole lot more about these neighbors helping neighbors. Whether it’s demolishing and remodeling a house, going on supply runs, sharing meals or handing out supplies.