I originally wrote this post in 2013, but my floods happened a decade or more before that. I couldn’t help but think of the people along the Texas coast and Florida.
I was scrolling through some pictures of the flooding in the Midwest. I immediately remembered my own experiences.
The Illinois flood wiped out all my furniture and possessions. The San Antonio flood damaged the property badly but the interior of the house was okay.
A few years ago, after Katrina, there was a Tide commercial featuring their mobile cleaning station. The woman looked at the camera and said something like, “Clean clothes are one of the most important things in the middle of a disaster.”
Yes, they are.
So is being dry and warm. So is the absence of mud and that peculiar smell that goes along with it. So is the rotting stench as everything you once valued is scraped up and thrown away.
Until it happened, I never thought I’d be a victim of a flood.
One of my greatest learning experiences in life has been to accept that bad things can happen to me. I’m not sure how to plan for them, other than to have the knowledge that I’m not exempt from yucky stuff in the back of my mind. I take precautions to protect myself as well as I can. I have an emergency kit with an evacuation plan. I don’t go many places by myself and rarely at night. I make sure I know my surroundings at all times. I have flood insurance. I own personal protection devices. For the rest, I just have to trust in my good sense and the luck of the draw.
Bad things happen to all of us. Some of them are publicized, are on TV, and fodder for the world to watch. Some of us live out our struggles in silence, seen by no one but friends and family. Some of us don’t have any witnesses.
I remember feeling a sense of disconnect when something bad happened to me, as if I were living someone else’s life and all of this wasn’t happening. I was in a shocky kind of daze, coping very well on the outside. Inside, it took me much longer to accept the situation and know that my life wasn’t going to be the same from that moment onward.
However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As human beings we have to want to change or we do so after a great upheaval. Doing something differently, even living differently, opens us up to a new life and new – and hopefully better – experiences. Yes, that could happen, too.