one year later
Exactly one year ago today, Marcus, Alex and I evacuated our flooded home. It was the last day Alex would ever see the inside of our home (she could never bring herself to go back in), and the last morning we spent living in the home we'd lived in for a decade.
Needless to say, it's been quite a year.
The thing about anniversaries, however, is that they give you great opportunities to reflect on things that you've accomplished over the year. Like, for example, in the past year, we figured out how to rebuild our home -- and while we're not finished, we've made great strides in doing so. Marcus changed jobs, and loves his new one. Alex had a great final year of middle school. It's all good.
Recently, though, when I mentioned I was having a difficult day on my Facebook page, someone commented that it was okay for me to feel out-of-sorts, even a year later, because "people say it's just stuff, but it's not." But the thing is, I don't miss anything that we lost in the flood -- and we lost almost everything. But for me, it really is just stuff. I have friends who lost a lot during the flood as well, some of them even more than we did, but some less -- and many of them may never get over it. But I don't feel that way at all. And even I have to admit that's weird.
However, this weekend, a friend of mine shared a story that I think encapsulates the overarching emotion that the flood has left me with.
My friend told the story of friend's puppy who had a beloved blanket. This puppy took this blanket everywhere he went -- he'd play with it and shake it around the house, he'd sleep on it, and he'd drag it through the small doggy door that led to the back yard. In every way, this blanket was his security and constant companion. Eventually, however, the puppy grew and soon enough, he was too big to get through the doggy door and drag the blanket along with him at the same time. He had to let go of the blanket, in order to continue to have all the good fun that he loved outside. So, of course, he did. And the dog was fine -- in fact, without the blanket, he was able to discover new things to entertain himself outdoors without distraction.
It's like that with the flood: even though it was something that was out of our control that forced us to let go of things, the truth is that there was so much good that we experienced as a result; things that we may have never known without the loss. We experienced the kindness of strangers, kindness that came without a second thought, and without regard to our differences. We learned that our family is a really tight team that works together well, and three of us grew stronger. We were able to see what was really important and what wasn't. There is something about going through an event where safety and security is stripped away that is incredibly clarifying. And while I'll never know why this sort of upheaval had to happen to our family, there's a part of me that is very grateful that it did.*
* That said, let me be clear: Universe, I'd like to have a few years before we have to go through that kind of upheaval again, please.
Soundtrack: February 3rd by Jorja Smith