Hope After The Hurricane – Hurricane Harvey | What Comes Next

Hope After The Hurricane – Hurricane Harvey | What Comes Next

Hope After The Hurricane – Hurricane Harvey | What Comes Next

I remember many nights  laying in bed listening to the raindrops beating  down on the roof. I could heard the back door to the house open and shut many times throughout the night. My dad was coming in and out, armed with an umbrella and a flashlight, to keep a close eye on the rising water. Then in the wee hours of the morning, I heard my dads heavy footsteps coming up the stairs. He stuck his rain soaked head through a crack in our bedroom door to see if my sister and I were awake,  we were, we had been waiting for this. “Girls, the water is coming up fast, it’s time to get moving”.

I felt…. excited.  Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I was just a young kid. I wasn’t worried about our belongings, I didn’t worry about insurance claims, financial burdens, or the logistics of it all. I just knew that we were about to have another crazy adventure. I don’t know exactly which flood made what memory, there were so many of them, that I’ve filed all the “flood memories” under one mental file in no certain order. Our house was built in Kingwood Tx, just feet away from the very unpredictable waters of the San Jacinto river, and that river ended up in our living room many times.

Today when I watch trees whip around, and hear the steady sound of rain for days on end, I have flashbacks  of those flood days. I can remember sitting in my bedroom, staring out my window, and trying to catch a glimmer of moonlight on the water, so that I could see just how much of our yard was disappearing into the waves. I have memories of news camera filming us while we waited  out the storm in our home. I can recall eating cans and cans and more cans of peaches that the Red Cross had brought us.  I remember my mom running around the house, tossing baby food, diapers, clothes,and  important files into a bag while I stood on our front  porch SCREAMING and refusing to climb into the fire departments rescue boat. Finally, my dad picked me up and handed me over to one of the firemen. Everyone else loaded into the boat quickly, and we pulled away from the house.  As we floated away, they announced on their speakerphone that the water was almost up to the power lines, this would be their last trip, they weren’t coming back after this.

It seems like my family had a knack for being the last ones out. I remember the scariest flood moment I had, the moment I was told to “grab the important stuff, the rest will be gone” – it was our last flood, the one that tried to catch us on our way out. Our house had already been bought by FEMA, and we were living in a camper on the property while we stripped down the old house, and prepared to start building a new one. Our little camper was no match for the the high winds and flood waters and there was a moment that I knew we would lose everything, until, someone showed up. A family friend who knew we would be in danger, drove through terrible conditions to come to our aid. He showed up with more help, and together, they pulled our camper with all of our things in it to higher and safer grounds. Then they offered us a place to stay until the storm passed, and they offered to help us clean up…once again, once the water had returned to their banks.

These people, and so many like them, they showed up again and again. There were people that gave their time and their resources so selflessly. There were people who held our hands, while we took a boat down our neighborhood streets, and looked at the damaged, unrecognizable version of our neighborhood post-flood. There were friends of friends who spent their weekends helping us pull our things out of the mud, and nail our house back together. There were those firemen who took us to safety, the Red Cross volunteers who brought us meals, the neighbors and strangers who offered us help. These are the people who made the memories that stand out the strongest in my mind. I don’t recall ever feeling worried about being away from home, or losing my things. The memories that don’t fade away, are of our community coming together, and rebuilding AGAIN. AND AGAIN.

Natural disasters have a powerful way of bringing people together. I’ve witnessed many times that people will look past arguments, or disagreements, and simply offer to help if they see a person in need. I like to imagine, that at our core, we are programmed to help one another. I think that for the majority of people, that is true.  Maybe thats where that tinge of excitement came from when I was a kid.  Because I knew we would have an adventure, we would make memories, and that ultimately, we would be okay, because our community was about to come together in a big way.

Tonight, I sit comfortably on my couch and listen to a gentle pitter patter on the windows. In my corner of San Antonio, hurricane harvey is just spitting on us. Nonetheless, I have heard from almost every friend I have ever had, asking if we are okay, and offering to help…and I know for a fact that they would be here if we needed it.

It’s devastating to see the news reports of damaged homes, businesses, and towns destroyed in the wake of this hurricane.  I can’t image what it feels like as an adult, to lose everything. But I can imagine what will happen next. I know that there is always hope, and in 10 years, the hope that comes after a storm will be the memory that shines the brightest. Today I feel anxious and saddened, but also still a tinge of excitement. Excitement to see what this community will do together.  Excitement  to get my hands dirty, and start rebuilding.

 

What you can do:

  1.  Check on your friends, make sure they’re safe
  2. Offer shelter to a friend in need, or a hot meal
  3. Take meals or drinks and treats to local first responders
  4. Donate clothes, diapers, toothbrushes, towels, blankets and coloring books to local shelters
  5. Take food or volunteer at your local food bank (SA FOOD BANK)
  6. Volunteer with the red cross
  7. Donate blood
  8. Ask your community what they need

More on what you can do to help, and where to go: hurricane harvey | how to help

 

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