The Flood: Picking Up the Pieces

As I stared at the mountainous heap at the front of my home, I reminded myself over and over that it’s just stuff. But then a voice yelled back at me, “It may just be stuff, but it’s MY stuff! That is MY chair that I bought when I was pregnant to soothe my aching lower back! That is MY big yellow couch that supported me when I held my feverish child sleeping in my arms. That is MY recliner that I snuggled on with my husband and kids! That is MY bookshelf, rug, armoir, desk, table, rocker, toys, books, etc. and they meant something to ME!”

As I walked down the hallway of my gutted house, images of the house being filled with life, love and family filled my thoughts until the flood of desolation washed over reminding me of what was taken away. I knew I would always have my memories, but I was angry that the tangible items holding my sentiments were snatched from me and my family in what felt like an instant and without any warning.

Yet, in the midst of my anger, I also understood that life goes on and we have to find ways to cope with this massive life-changing event. I am beginning to see my experience with the flood as a grieving experience and find that many emotions I have fit with the Kubler-Ross model of the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Some emotions leave and come back later but I know that with the support of my friends and family, I am well on my way to acceptance. It is amazing the people who rise to the surface when a catastrophic event happens. Those you expect may not be available yet others who you would not rise to the occasion. I have been blessed with so many unexpected friends offering their help and support as well as close friends who have gone over and beyond the call of duty and solidified my already deep love and respect for them. I put no expectation on anyone to do or say anything in particular, I am just trying to get through each day with my head up and my heart open but I cannot help but notice when my load feels lighter because of the support offered by others; I am able to hold my head a bit higher and open my heart a bit wider.

I’ve said before many times that yoga has saved me and I could not mean it more than now with the situation we are dealing with. Last week’s yoga was a beautiful release. I cried in poses and sobbed in savasana as my friend and teacher massaged my head and shoulders. Today I attended one of my friend’s hot yoga class and was blessed to practice alongside another friend and teacher. The heat was purifiying and cleansing and I felt hopeful and light. In pigeon pose, arms up and bent back at the elbows resembling a heart, one thought kept coming to me, “only love is real.” My mind’s eye saw a heart in front of me and I knew that love will get us through this, love is all that matters.


I was offered a massage with Reiki after yoga. I hesitated at first because I felt that accepting a massage was selfish, it was too decadent an offering and I felt guilty accepting it. But when my friend said, “Just remember the bodywork is to help clear trauma from your muscle memory”, I knew it was something I should do for me, to get through the process healthfully and be able to offer my best self each day to myself, my husband, my children and the world. As I relaxed into the massage, I realized that while my husband and I are daily forming plans and trying to get order back in our lives, it will not be the final answer of where we live that brings happiness. Instead, it will be that we traversed our biggest obstacle to date. As I felt pulsating heat and energy at my crown and through my body, I felt something bigger than us all reminding me that this journey to finding our way back from disarray is the most important part of it all and more important than the order awaiting us. The journey never ends, there is no end game; there is only love. And while that massive heap taunts and torments me with grief beckoning to be held tight and kept, it is the one thing I refuse to hold onto as mine.

*This was my first experience with Reiki and it was an experience filled with energy and love, something completely unexpected. When I realized there was no heat source but only the heat and energy from my friend, I instantly was awestruck at this beautiful healing work. Click here for more information on Reiki.

25 thoughts on “The Flood: Picking Up the Pieces

  1. Oh, Kerry! Big hugs as you go through this. As you said, it’s *your* stuff, even if it’s jut stuff. Take care of yourself. ❤

  2. My mom is a Reiki master, so I’m really glad you got the massage, it is so very healing! Those pictures are so heartbreaking, but now you get to make new memories with new items! Sending good energy your way as you continue on this path of recovery!

    • Thanks Kate…I appreciate your words so much. That is really interesting about your mom! I knew nothing about reiki until yesterday but I am now a firm believer in its healing benefits

  3. I don’t even know where to start with this comment. So much to say. (Which likely means I won’t say much of anything at all.)

    First, I had to share this on twitter. Your writing is beautiful and your spirit is simply amazing. I am in awe, Kerry.

    Never, ever feel guilty about mourning the loss of ‘stuff’. it was YOUR stuff, and it was important stuff. and you didn’t deserve to have this happen.

    Never, ever feel guilty about taking that time for you, be it yoga, a massage, or whatever. You need to love and take care of yourself, just as you are loving and taking care of your family.

    And finally, wow on the Reiki. You know that I’ve joked about it on my blog as a bunch of phooey. I am so curious to know more about your experience.

    keep well, friend.

    • Thank you so much Nancy…for your validation 🙂 You know, if I had known exactly what Reiki was and had been asked a year or so ago, I would have thought the same as you. I had heard of Reiki but didn’t know what it was so there was no self-fulfilling prophecy going on here. In fact, I was assuming it was something like reflexology. haha! It was truly amazing and powerful. I really did feel like she had some heat device and i kept wondering what it could be. Then, I realized it was her healing hands and the energy I felt was intense and so beautiful.
      She said usually in Reiki you begin at the root chakra, stability, to lift up to the spirit at the crown of the head. but with traumas, she starts at the crown to reach the spiritual energy first since stability has been taken away, in the hopes that the spirit can help find grounding.
      It was funny because she describes herself as more earthly and less spiritual. And while she heals with Reiki, she said she is always happy and surprised when it works. 🙂

  4. Yay! I’m so glad to be reading these words! It’s a beautiful post and I know it’s not over and done with, many things are still yet to be worked out. I’m glad you are taking care of yourself and your heart along the way.

  5. Oh my goodness, I am so sorry that you had to go through this. Things are just things, but at the same time they tend to be pieces of ourselves and can hold so much sentimental value. I am glad that you had some great people to help you through this time.

  6. I am in a mix of emotion as I read this post. In 2005 we lost most of our belongings to a flood. I still have moments where, even though “it’s just stuff” I wish I had baby pictures or other “things” that were lost. We walked the three blocks through waist high water with my then 1 and 3 year olds to my mother’s house. The older girls were already on high ground.
    You are such an amazingly strong person! Your story has inspired me to begin a yoga practice and learn more about Reiki, also. I just started learning last month.
    Continued healing and rebuilding to you and your family.

    • Wow, thank you for sharing your story. While I am so sorry that you experienced this too, I admit it gives me some solace to have someone so understanding. You give me hope that everything will be okay though I will never forget all we have lost. I am happy that I inspired you to begin a yoga practice…you will not regret it. And Reiki, wow…I am also wanting to learn more. Much love to you. xo

  7. So sorry your family and others have had to go through this experience. I do believe that yoga helps us train our brains to be resilient and focus on what is real. Best of luck as you get your home back to “normal.”

  8. Oh Kerry, my heart aches for you. The things is, there is a world of difference between letting go of our things because we decide we want to let go, and having them ripped from us without permission or warning. The later is bound to cause feelings of grief and anger and even despair at your inability to influence or fix the situation. I think it is wonderful that you are turning to yoga to help you through this. Letting your emotions out and clearing your mind will stand you in good stead for a faster recovery and a more philosophical outlook on all the things you have lost, further down the line. Huge *hugs* to you and your family X

    • I agree, thank you! It all hits me every so often and has to be let out. I need yoga to get me through this and I do let it all out when it needs to come out. It is a very hard time but we will get through it. The hardest part as of late is that my daughter all of a sudden seems to get it and is responding the way I did in the first few days. Heartbreaking.

  9. Pingback: monthly challenges recap: May edition | my year[s] of sweat!

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