I’m pretty sure everything would be alright in the world if I just could have stayed in bed one more day. All day. In the dark. Under the covers. Pretending I don’t have to live and I don't have things to do.
It’s a day when my “dark days” are there – in the back of my mind…edging closer to the front….and I have to push them back. Every motion is difficult. Waking. Getting dressed. Doing my hair. Bathing. Breathing. But I do it – because I’ve learned how to fight the demons inside me – and win.
Life isn’t ending – it just isn’t the greatest right now. Those of you who have followed me from the very beginning know that 2 years ago in a flood my parents lost everything they owned and moved in with me. For a full year, my life wasn’t my own. It was giving a family a home, then putting them in a camper in my driveway, then moving them to a garage, house-hunting, moving again, and so much FEMA paperwork it was coming out of my ass. It was all-consuming and it changed me – like devastation like that can often do.
Many, many people don’t know that on that same day my finished basement flooded too. We had to gut it. $10,000 in damage but we spoke of it to no one. It just didn’t seem right in comparison to what my parents had lost. The basement sat empty until just last October when we re-finished it. It’s a storage closet, workout room and a bedroom for my daughter.
Saturday – it flooded again. The whole town has damage again. Even my parent’s condemned house has flooded again – so thank goodness they left it. I stood in my basement – Rambo was at work – and I cried. How can this happen again? And then I felt guilty – it’s just carpet, walls and tile. I dried my tears and I began clean up. Life will go on.
On the day my parent’s home flooded – 4 others in town did too. Three of those were condemned also and are abandoned. One however is not. Only the entire basement level floods so FEMA won’t condemn it because they can still live upstairs. It flooded again Saturday. This is probably the 6th time since 2008. The wife had a nervous breakdown this time. She tried to leave but her car was covered up to the windshield. She had to be rescued…just like my mom was back then. I drove by on the way to the soccer game and my heart sank. I sobbed. The sight. The mud and the people. Everything you own out in the driveway being cleaned by strangers. Rescue workers, firemen. People driving by to stare.
And people like me driving by sobbing….because I hurt for them and I know how they feel and worst of all – I remember. I don’t often let myself remember that day – the helplessness, the sight of my father sobbing in the yard as we emptied his house of 30 years, the smell of the mud….the fact that me and Rambo were alone without my other siblings….the fact that I’m still angry about that.
But some things trigger the memories and that did it for me. I hate that it can still do that and I hate even more that I know it’s because I haven’t allowed myself to grieve over what we lost that day. This weekend my brothers were home – and we took boatloads of pictures. No one complained – everyone stood – and smiled – for as long as was needed. Normally it would have been like pulling teeth but everyone knew there was a reason we were taking those pictures. It’s because all our pictures from 53 years and back are all gone – all ruined – every baby picture of me and my siblings and even my parents – gone. Every baby book….gone. There was a reason we were taking pictures….and behind each was a little bit of sadness. I have nothing physical of my childhood to show my girls….seems shallow and petty…but it hurts just the same.
So my basement is a wreck….and I’d like to crawl in a hole and pretend it’s not. As it is I live upstairs and I refuse to go down there - I don't want to see it. I don't want to feel what seeing it does to me. I’d like to not be forced to remember that others lost more. I’d like to not repeat 2008 over and over again. I’d like to stay in bed.
I’d like to scratch the word flood from my brain. I don’t want to report damages to FEMA today where they know me on a first name basis. I want to move to the top of a mountain and never fear water again.
But life isn’t about getting what you want…it’s about surviving what’s thrown at you and coming out stronger in the end. I’ll survive. I’ll be stronger.
But I won’t forget.
I think I am most angry that all my life I loved rain - loved that it meant memories with my father that were few and far between. If it rained when we were kids, he couldn't work outside - so we'd shop and go out to eat. Rain was a blessing. Rain was my father. And now - rain is my curse. I am angry that something I love is now something I am starting to hate. I want to despise it for what it's done to me and my family. I want to go back to loving it....and I would.....except now....it scares the hell out of me.