The Flood, part 2

The rain slowed to a light mist around 9:30am and we were eager to go back to our house to assess the damage. We parked at the end of the street and waded to our house. As we reached the front of our home, we were up to our thighs in water. I stood on my toes and we had a chat with our neighbor. The time came to go inside and my neighbor said, “are you sure you want to do that?” I said, “not really but we need to” so we waded to our front gate, I stood on the sand bags we had placed the day before and took in what had happened. Instantly overwhelmed and awestruck, the sobs started and did not wane until my sister arrived 30 minutes later. ​

As we pushed our front door open, water gushed out and we walked into our ominous and quiet home that only a day before held sounds of laughter, children and music. Now movements echoed as if floating in a cavern. It was dark and our personal items stood tall, bravely enduring their own demise. I went first to my son’s bedroom and a torrent of tears shook my body as all of his beautiful innocence floated around me. In my daughter’s room I saw her trunk of stuffies tipped over as her “friends” floated around it, some gave up and sunk to the bottom. I imagined her and her brother playing in it as they would often do, dumping out the stuffies and both climbing in to sit and giggle at eachother. I remember putting the letters to her name on it as a wooden “r” looked up at me from the water. Her books were soaked and ruined…so many times have we read the words in those wet books.

But a flood cannot take away words. Water cannot wash away memories and love. Nothing can take away the gratitude I have that my family is safe. The rest, while painful to see taken away, is just stuff. “It’s just stuff” has become my new mantra.

When I had exhausted the tears for the moment, I realized it was time to face the truth of what was happening and get to work. I began packing clothes, gathering valuables and memory books. I focused on getting items to pack our family for our Disney trip only 3 days away. While we considered not going or delaying our flight we realized we needed to go for our kids and ultimately for ourselves too.

My sister and her boyfriend arrived at our flooded home, consoled us and got to work. After an hour or so, I left with her to go check on my kids and regroup. Later, as I was buying food for us to have at my mom’s house, I was informed that my sister had rounded up a group of people to help and they had already begun what I call “Operation Salvage”. I was overcome and that is when the beauty of the situation began showing itself to me.

I returned from the store and headed back to the house with a new mindset: this will not bring me down. There were seven people ready to get to work. They had beer and happy attitudes. They did not make light of the situation yet lightened the heavy mood which was exactly what we needed. Before entering our home for the second time, we all stood in front of the house around a paddle board as if it were a meeting table before entering to take a moment to notice that it is people who matter, community and friends, love and gratitude. We went inside and everyone began gathering pictures off the wall, electronics, files and documents, clothes, toys, and medicines. We all moved around and quickly began hauling things out of the house, down the street and into trucks. It went on like this for a couple of hours until we had enough and had to leave for the day. A strange sense of calm came over me, likely in part due to lack of sleep, two beers and the support that surrounded me. Floating in my driveway and down my street to unload the last of our day’s haul, I knew everything would be okay. I felt an unexpected love coming not only from those around me but also from something beyond me, something greater that was showing me something I needed to learn.

There is a story I like about a man whose home floods and he is forced to the roof of his home. Rescuers come but he refuses them saying God will protect him. The rescuers leave but return later as the man is even higher on his roof as the waters rise. He refuses them again saying his God will save him. They come a third time and are again turned away. The man eventually drowns and as he enters the gates of heaven, he asks God why he did not protect him as he had been a devout believer and a loyal servant to which God replies, “I sent you three boats, why didn’t you take one?”

There are messages and lessons along our paths and I believe we must be open and awake to hear them, to learn them. This is a test and it is difficult but we will rise above for only Love endures.

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41 thoughts on “The Flood, part 2

  1. I hate that this happened to you, but reading your story was uplifting and a great way to start my day. I cried sympathy years and then ‘proud of the human race’ years. You are surrounded by awesome people 🙂 Have a great time at Disney!

  2. Kerry. Your attitude is nothing short of amazing! I have heard that story before but it is ever so poignant at this time I am so thankful you are ok and I think it was the right thing to do to go to Disneyworld anyway. The lamd of make believe is EXACTLY what your family needed right now. Helps you realise there is always magic xx

  3. Kerry, those pictures are just amazing. 16 years ago, I was very pregnant, and had stored all of my baby loot at my parents house – and their house caught fire. They lost all but everything, but the fire fighters were amazing and as they were fighting the fire, they were tossing tarps over everything they could to prevent water damage and were tossing picture frames and all they could into the back of the house where it was protected from water and fire. Our mantra was also “it’s only stuff”, and you know what, it is. At the time, it was devastating. I was pregnant, lost everything except the crib and dresser – they did have to go off for restoration, but it was saved – and I learned, and my parents and siblings learned, it was just stuff. WE were all okay. And 16 years later – I can honestly tell you that I don’t miss anything that was lost!

    (Okay, having said that – when I swelled up and couldn’t wear my rings, I gave my mother the ring that my grandmother gave me, it was a huge heirloom ruby… and naturally, during the fire all of my mom’s jewelry melted together and I grieved the loss. Two years after the fact, my mom presented me with the ring. She knew how important it was, and she managed to chip apart the jewelry, and spent years cleaning the ring!)

    So, this is devastating, and it’s horrible and wrong, and Please, please, make sure you take time to grieve, and then just repeat your mantra “It’s only stuff”, because you have the memories and you have each other.

    • You are so so right, Kate, and your story gives me chills. Fire and water…completely devastating elements yet they teach so much. I love that you had the same mantra and I hope I can keep it. I am realizing too that I don’t remember a lot of what I lost since I saved the most important items. I could not be more grateful to have my family, my memories and love. Nothing else matters.

  4. I LOVE YOU! This is a beautiful post. I knew it was going to be hard to read… because I know how heavy it is. But you are resilient and inspiring. Can’t wait till you get home so we can start cleaning up!

  5. Kerry. My heart goes out to you and your family. I cried while reading this. Your positive outlook is inspiring. I’m not sure I could do the same. All the best! Have a wonderful time at Disney!!

  6. Wow. Again, I can’t even imagine it. Thinking of you and your family. I think it’s great you decided to go forward with Disney..I’d say it’s definitely well needed after everything you’ve gone through!

  7. Oh My Goodness Kerry 😦 I am so sorry 😦 We have had a lot of flooding here in the UK so I am aware of just how horrendous and damaging water is from the news reports and interviews I have seen locally. My heart goes out to you. You are a trooper for getting through a day like this one. And such an inspiring yoga pose on the board there! Strength in the face of adversity. Hugs to you and your family xxxx

  8. First off, this is some of your most beautiful writing ever, Kerry.
    Second, even though there are no words, I will continue to just say I am so sorry for what you have had to endure. My thoughts are still with you, and will remain with you until you are back to normal. Positive energy. I hope you can feel it.
    Third, when I saw that final picture in Facebook it made my heart smile. The two of you are nothing short of AWESOME! And your pose reminds me more than a little of a modern-day, flood-induced American Gothic. pure art. And love.
    xoxo

    • Thank you Nancy…I appreciate your words. Anyone can write when they write from the heart. I DO feel your positive energy, I promise, every day! That was the intention with the picture…the mop and bucket were not actually used…lol, laughable to think and mop and bucket could sop up 5 feet of water! Love you my friend. xo

  9. What a positive attitude! You constantly amaze me. I hope that you and the family were able to put things aside and enjoy Disney. I am so sorry you’re having to go through this. What an awful and trying time. I’m thinking of you and your family.

    • Thank you friend. We weren’t able to put everything aside on our trip but it was still good and a needed break. Now we are back and sorting things out. I see a bright future no matter what.

  10. Drinking Michelob Ultra after a flood! Now that’s discipline. I’d have been taking in an IPA intravenously. Great spirit.

  11. Oh, Kerry! I am so sorry! That’s so terrible. But I have to say, your positivity is truly inspirational. Your family is very lucky to have you holding it together so well. I live in an area that was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy two years ago and have since witnessed so many friends and loved ones lose everything in an instant the same way you did. Totally devastating. But many of them are actually much stronger now because of what they have overcome since then. There’s always a silver lining somewhere, right? I’m so sorry for what your family has been through and I’ll be keeping you all in my thoughts.

  12. Pingback: May 2015 Yoga Newsletter | URU

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