Thank you, G-d for keeping my family safe. But I am also grateful to Hurricane Irma. Yes, I am. Never have I ever before realized the power of friendship, true care of real friends, human kindness, soul connection, comradery and family ties.
A Week from Hell, anticipation of natural disaster brought classic textbook Panic symptoms to life. During the ominous silence, confusion raced in my heart, insomnia made me tremble, no amount of water could quench my thirst. The underlying doubt of my decision to ride out the storm precipitated unwelcome anxiety. Watching the news alerts and all the weather predictions, turned modern science into a laughing stock in my mind. None of the meteorologists could predict where the Hurricane turns and what it will do. Like a temperamental child, the weather system could not make up its mind and threw the whole Florida state into disarray.
My parents crying and pleading begged us to leave. Caring friends offered shelter in their far away houses. Relatives tried to persuade us to abandon all and save our lives. The worst part was to constantly pacify loved ones with the notion of our most likely survival.
What made us decide to stay is the unpredictability of where the Hurricane would strike. Uplifting kids, in-laws, and 3 dogs would be unbearable versus weathering it out in our own home, we figured. For the whole week, we were frantically preparing each corner of the house for a possible flood, tornado, and house damage. Lining all the windows and doors with towels really helped though. I even got a rare “Great job” comment from my Husband, when we realized the carpets were all wet. The towels soaked in the majority of the water and the rest are being remedied by professional dryer/blower right now.
Conversing with our friends, it became clear that dry land, away from water (where we are) is the safest place for weathering this beast out. After consulting with other families, it appeared that all women were operating in panic mode and men remained stoic. Envious of male’s DNA, but functioning on my feminine energy, the whole week was dedicated to removing all the items from the lanai, balcony, garden, window sills and walls. We tied up all the bulk heavy items outside. Removed planters, decorations, chairs and anything that could be blown by wind gusts. I even took all my green lemons from the lemon tree so the baseball size balls wouldn’t be flying into anyone’s windows. Countless grocery store visits, with the insistence of my overprotective Mom, ran our bill over $1000 for emergency food items. I even splurged on dry goods such as sweet macaroons and junky cereals that never occupy the shelves of our pantry. Water jars were placed in most corners of our house and freezer was filled with water ziplock bags as well. Needless to say, I am in dire need for a chiropractor’s visit, if only they would reopen!
By divine intervention, all the prayers worked and I am ever grateful to all the friends and family who prayed for us. The power of your love and care is supernatural and please never doubt the reality of your thoughts. As before, and more magnified now, I realize that we create our own reality and the thoughts that we produce pave the way of our future. THANK YOU ALL FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, for all the prayers sent our way and I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT.
At the same time, it is crystal clear what individuals came through in this time of need, reached out, offered shelter and brought us hope of better tomorrow. Tears were running down my cheeks, with your comforting words of solace, texts, voice message and all of you lightened the load of my heart.
Tampa Bay felt unity as never before. Expecting to rebuild the whole state, the comradery prevailed and of course, local friends offered emotional support, advice, and shelter to each other.
In the very last 8 hours of the Hurricane’s arrival, the gloomy report alerted us to brace for the worst and hope for the best. The eye of the storm was going directly over our beloved Tampa.
Receiving such ominous news, put me in adrenalin pumping mode. We fetched our parents in-law with their emergency supplies. Our friends called us to ask for shelter for their family of four with their two dogs and two cats. We felt honored that they thought of “weathering this nightmare” together with us. Feeling relieved to have each other’s support during the impending potential destruction, I knew that the mayhem outside will not scare me as much as being stranded alone on the upcoming night of terror. We kept each other occupied, talked, ate and appreciated restless dogs playing with each other. Instead of focusing on the horrible wind noise and bending of trees, we were trying to distract each other. Our phones ringed nonstop from the family inquiries, but I am forever grateful to this family joining us, otherwise, my Panic would be unbearable.
During the finale, Hurricane Irma, shifted course a bit to the East of us and that eliminated the concern of tornadoes. That restless weekend, I learned that tornados occur North East of any Hurricane and at least we didn’t have to be concerned with hiding in windowless closets.
Earplugs played a big role during that historic noisy night. They minimized the scratchy wind noises and created the illusion of regular tropical rain instead of a category two hurricane.
Next morning, debris was all over. Branches, leaves, the noise of generators and disbelief of actual safety settled in. Our pool screens were blown away and right now we are pretty much open to all the bugs and mosquitos out there until screen repairmen arrive. Wet carpets were a minor nuisance compared to what might have been. Our own industrial strength blower (acquired due to a problem from our previous home) was turned on and hopefully will dry out the wet areas soon. Visiting family friends and in-laws safely departed and major clean up begun…
Lots of areas lost electricity, ours held up. Different towns are flooded, ours is drivable, although the majority of traffic lights are nonfunctioning. Trees are down and highway billboards are ripped. Some of our friends still have no light. Gas stations are waiting for gasoline to arrive.
Life is a bit of a mess right now. Sleep was non-existent, emotions were high, hot meals were thought as our last. This has seriously been a physically and mentally exhausting challenge. Irma brought the sense of doom and despair and yet, through the fear we stuck together and made it through. Tampa Bay is our home. It would take a lot more than a major hurricane to break our spirit, although, no one wants to go through this again. Perhaps such monstrosity will wait another 90 years before it strikes or better yet never.
Deep down, I am somewhat grateful to Hurricane Irma. As helpless, as I felt, now I am more empowered than ever. I know I have my family’s back, friend’s support, the ability to make correct decisions and most of all my Mom’s ability to withstand any outside cataclysm or pressure. She said she was proud to raise a resilient woman and I guess I had to prove her right. Cause’ Mothers are never wrong, of course, 🙂
Today, the sun is shining again, there is a blue sky and there is not one iota of wind. Life continues. I’m praying that all Floridians are safe. And you know what?! After surviving end of the world confusion in 2012, yearly lab tests results, mammograms, dental visits, doctor’s prognosis and now hell week of Hurricane Irma, nothing seems too big of a hurdle any longer.
Grateful more than ever before,