Personally, I’m still having a hard time putting one foot in front of the other, much less venturing out of the house; I’ve spent hours that have added up to days mired in the losses and the resulting emotional and physical challenges here at home, much less nationally.
My home is a shambles, the items that did make it through the flood in our finished basement now scattered throughout the first floor of our home, including the back porch and the garage.
And then there was my daughter’s beautiful silk wedding dress now stained and grimy, the one she hoped her daughter might wear one day. I can’t even think about the soggy family photos and albums beyond salvageable.
I’ve thought more than once of my sister Lynda’s losses in 1992, when Hurricane Andrew destroyed her Miami home along with 63,000 other Florida homes in Dade Country. Approximately 175,000 people had to look for alternative housing in the same housing market. Lynda and her husband Rodney and their two children were displaced three times in an 8 month period before they were finally able to settle into a new residence they’ve called home since. How many hurricane seasons can they endure along with the millions threatened year after year? I’m not sure I can handle another flood. My neighbors have said as much. Of course who of us gets the last word when it comes to a debate with life’s indiscriminate challenges, natural or manmade?
Home; it’s such a fundamental piece of our peace of mind, the calm in a storm of people and activity, mayhem and madness now available 24/7 if we choose to tune in. Home is our only buffer against an often crazy world, a global village that offers more heartache than the mind can grasp; certainly more than my battered soul can take right now. Without that calm in the storm, how do we cope?
I am actually finding some strength in simply braving the cold inside my battered home; I truly can’t deal with the outside world right now. I refuse to let sixty-two degrees during the day, fifty-five degrees at night put a chill on my meager recovery efforts. The family room is cozy at night bathed in the warm glow of the fireplace, our major source of heat. The soft lighting makes Jimmy looks rugged and strong; it does wonders for diminishing the fine lines time and life have etched across my face.
Defying my current circumstances (let’s just say the furnace drowned trying to swim to shore during the flood) with a tenacious mixture of determination and grit, layers and layers of clothing, and a few well positioned space heaters may very well be the lifeline that carries me through the shambles I now call home; at least until new parts for the furnace come in and Jimmy can work his mechanical magic or Mother Nature finally gets with the program and delivers normal temperatures for this time of year.
Blessedly, time does heal all wounds; at the very least we learn a thing or two about fortitude,
resiliency, and empathy. At least Jim and I are not looking at an 8-month recovery; maybe a month, two at the most. Fortunately I’m also not looking at the loss of a limb, or the loss of a loved one like those touched by the Boston Marathon bombings and the explosion at the Fertilizer Plant in Texas; those tragic losses suggest a lifetime of recovery, if a full recovery is ever really part of that particular equation. Those losses split a life in two; there’s life before, and then life after such unimaginable loss, but life is never really the same.
I am realizing I can’t hurry the recovery process any more than I can avoid the wildly despairing and acutely miserable portions of my life. I can’t ignore my feelings of vulnerability any more than I can deny the beautiful albeit fragile gift of yet another day, a day that just so happens to be sunny with a predicted high of sixty-eight degrees. Woo hoo! It's a heat wave.
Life is so damn mercurial; fortunately it makes my behavior/whining seem almost reasonable.
Besides, I rarely spend much time in my basement anyway; about as much time as I spend feeling sorry for myself.