Through the Storm

Whew. What a week.

First, some pragmatic things:

  • If you have water damage in your house from burst pipes, I imagine you’re seeing lots of information about what to do about the pipes. But our friends in Houston, who survived the flooding from Hurricane Harvey, offer this warning: make sure that everything affected by water damage is either removed or thoroughly dry, including joists. If it isn’t, you’re in danger of mold issues. Please talk to a professional if you have questions.

Now, some of the emotional/psychological things:

This was a trauma, on top of a year of trauma. Those who suffered the worst, with losing power and water, will need to be able to talk about it, to tell the story of what you experienced. We’re going to make some spaces for that, and please, also feel free to contact me.

Survivors’ Guilt is a real thing. Those of us who were so lucky as to not lose power/water still went through fear for others, and frustration at the helplessness you had in not being able to physically get to others and help them. You’ll need to process this, too … but not with those who went through the trauma of actually being without heat/power/water.  It is not their job to give forgiveness or to soothe our anxiety. Find others to talk to, including me.

All of us will have a lot of emotions swirling up in us over the next couple of weeks. We’ll be processing what we experienced, our worst fears, and dealing with the real aftermath of cleaning up and waiting for power and water to get back to normal. This is normal and expected, these feelings. Be aware of them, and be clear about what your normal “anxiety response” is. If your response is to emotionally disconnect, give yourself time for that, but also be aware if you are closing loved ones out. If your response is to lash out, pause and think about what you’re really feeling (and perhaps direct it toward an elected official, rather than a friend or loved one).

And we will look up and realize that even after our power is back on, our insurance claim has been filed, and it’s warm outside … the pandemic is still on. This is a crushing reality to face after what we’ve been through this week. We will not be going back to normal. We will merely be going back to “pandemic normal,” rather than “snowpocalypse normal.”

Reach out. Talk to someone you trust, and who can trust you.

It has been a terrible week in many ways. But once again, Live Oak has been a community that has been able to turn to each other. Members have checked on each other, and even brought other members into their homes. This IS a community of love and resilience. We can continue to help each other over the next couple of weeks, sharing water, food, and other supplies. Next week, we will have the postponed “Fresh Food for All” on Friday, to help others in the larger community.  And finally, at long last (crossed fingers) we will be able to pick up our Valentine’s bags on February 27!

As you begin thawing out, please stay in touch and let me know how you’re doing.