As a displaced Texans, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we are reminded every day of “things” that were lost in the waters that enveloped our home.
First and foremost, my children are homeless. Maybe I should instead say that they are without a house. We have a home. It’s an RV that some friends generously are allowing us to borrow to live in while we try and rebuild our home. You see, my children have grown up as Air Force brats and are well versed with moving every 11 months to 4 years. Although, their hearts ached every time we had to move, and they had to leave special friends behind and amazing church families, they would still jump into those moving trucks and head for our newest home without any arguing or pleading. My kids are extraordinary! They pick up, move on, make new friends, and live like they’ve lived somewhere forever.
This time, however, it isn’t our choice. My husband is retired from the Air Force and we don’t have to pick up and move every few years anymore (but the itch is there). A little tropical depression sat on Texas for days and dumped over 50 inches of rain and took our home with it. With no flood insurance (because it’s not supposed to flood where our home is), we now have a mortgage for a home we can’t live in and only the money FEMA will give us to rebuild.
Over and over I hear, “it’s just stuff,” “they’re just things.” Funny thing is this is coming from people who still have all their stuff and all their things. We just agree and move on. We know God has our backs and will provide, but it still hurts, and being constantly reminded that our things and stuff were JUST things and stuff isn’t helping.
Yesterday, I was delighted to learn that a very special item I had my husband and son looking for was found! It was the flag that was presented to me at my Dad’s funeral. Yes, it’s just a thing, but it’s such a special memory and waiting to hear if that flag was spared tugged at my heartstrings mercilessly. When I learned yesterday it had been high enough to stay out of the water and that it wasn’t covered in mold, I cried. My wonderful husband was also able to save some purses from my Grandma. She had worked for a purse company called Enid Collins of Texas and had given me many purses as gifts when I was a teenager.
So many here in my tiny city of Bevil Oaks, Texas, lost EVERYTHING! We were fortunate to have an upstairs in our home where a few things were saved, but the mildew and mold will destroy anything left made of fabric. Our boxes of pictures were the first things we took upstairs, so they are safe. Other than that, we “thought” stuff was placed high enough to weather the waters, but the flood just kept rising and took it all.
Over 20 years ago, I walked out of home with my three little girls with just the clothes on our backs. I left an abusive marriage and it was the safest thing for my girls and I to do. No photos, no keepsakes, no nothing. So, you see, I have lost everything before. Maybe that is why I’m dealing with this better than some. I guess God prepared me.
Yes, there have been tears with the realization that everything is gone. This is an accumulation of over 20 years of collecting treasures after starting over way back when. And I’m not going to lie, we are hoarders. Our weakness is books. We love books! We love to hold them and smell them and touch them when reading. We collect textbooks, art books, classics, antique books, cookbooks, engineering books, books about essential oils, books about plants, books about guns, Bibles, and more. And now, they are mostly gone.
I also love to cook and bake, so I have just about everything imaginable in my kitchen….. well, I HAD just about everything imaginable. Even my recipe for my famous gluten free bread is gone. That thing took me months to perfect. Now, I have to start over. I suppose this time I will keep it digital on my computer instead of on a piece of paper inside my cookbook.
We keep wondering, what about this, what about that, and the answer (almost every time) is, “I’m sorry honey, I couldn’t save it.”
More things…… My wedding rings were also found on a little shelf right by the kitchen sink right where I left them. They are being dropped off at a jeweler today to be cleaned because they are so nasty and dirty.
I guess God saved the three things for me personally that couldn’t be replaced. My one of a kind wedding rings that my husband placed on my finger, my Dad’s flag, and my Grandma’s purses.
I’m sure I’ll miss all of that stuff and those things, but we’ll start over and even though we say we’re not going to have as many books or things this time around, I just don’t see that happening.