i was going to write a post yesterday about what i was doing six months ago. but i couldn't bring myself to do it. now i'm writing it at 230am, because these thoughts keep going around in my head and it's something i think i need to get out. so i am.
six months ago, i wasn't just stressing because i was trying to plan bumble's birthday party. he turned 8 exactly six months ago, and my mind really should have been filled with dinner and cake, balloons and decoration, and if i could throw a surprise party when it was just his family down here and if he would be surprised by it at all.
no, instead, six months ago, i was wading through muddy, gas and oil slicked water, trying to make it through my yard and into my house. tropical storm lee hit our area much harder than expected, and the water was coming up faster and higher than people thought. the day before i had packed up the kids and gone to my moms', because from there i could drive the boys to school if we needed to stay until the waters went down. we'd done it before when the creek behind my house flooded over the road, because if we didn't, we couldn't get out of our driveway.
and so, my dearest hubby and i drove around road closed signed, and had to explain to the police that stopped us how, in the rush to leave yesterday, i had forgotten a few things. and that's when we were told that our area was being evacuated. so it wasn't just a good idea that we were leaving, they were forcing us, and everybody else, to get out while we could. they said we had twenty minutes to grab what we could and then we had to leave.
so, six months ago, instead of baking all afternoon to making an amazing cake like i had planned, i was running through my house grabbing all the clothes i could, throwing them in bags and lugging them through greasy, sewage-smelling water to my car. and my husband was grabbing all the pictures off the walls and all my photo albums, all the memories we'd never be able to replace. (which is a funny thought in this digital age, that i couldn't get copies of my photo's because i'd lost the negatives) i went through and grabbed all the social security cards and birth certificates, the titles and loan documents and bank records, the old tax returns and W-2s, all the "important" papers that we'd need if we ever needed to file for anything from the federal government all the way down to the school district.
we grabbed everything that we could manage in a few suitcases and trash bags, and six months ago we were forced to leave our home, crappy as it was, not knowing if we'd ever see it again.
six months ago was also the day i realized that i don't do well in situations of stress. running through the house, trying to grab everything important and irreplaceable, was almost impossible to me. everything in my little house was irreplaceable and important, from the kids' pictures on the fridge to my tea set i had as a little girl. but i knew we couldn't take everything. so as we left i just hoped and prayed that my house would still be there when the waters went down.
and it was. and i know i was lucky, much luckier than even my neighbor who's house sat just three feet lower and they ended up losing everything. but still, it was hard. and i didn't lose anything that my insurance or FEMA considered valuable, but things are still gone that i can't get back.
six months ago, my life changed. everything for my family changed. and we're still trying to get things back on track. it's the hardest thing i've ever gone through, and continue to go through. and it's surreal sometimes, because i know most people don't even think about it. driving past my old house, seeing all the surrounding businesses open and coming back to life, everything seems normal. the only real reminders are the empty lots where condemned houses used to be. strange, gaping, empty spots while all around life goes on as usual, like six months ago never happened.