Saturday, July 20, 2013

I still cry a lot...

Sometimes for myself, but mostly for others.

It has been one month now since our house flooded.  One crazy month.  After saving and salvaging what we could from the house, then sorting, cleaning and storing everything, we moved on to dealing with insurance and applying for disaster relief.

I have learned more than I really ever wanted to know about insurance.  Made a few mistakes along the way.  One big one, not enough photos of flooded items.  And I don't think I will every look at an insurance policy the same way again.  I also think I will look into storing documents differently.  You know those little booklets the insurance company sends you where you can itemize everything in your house, those are a good idea.  I will be using one in the future.  It is amazing how much you can forget, each day I remember something that is lost.  And it all adds up quickly.  In hindsight, we were very under insured.

I am also learning the importance of living with less.  We were lucky, the main floor of our house was spared.  People have generously offered us clothing and shoes for our children.  Our children lost very little.  When I went through their belongings I felt as though they could actually donate some of their things to others in need.

In the middle of this experience, I took an impromptu trip to Australia to see my sister Lucia.  Her husband is battling cancer and my other sister and I felt it was important to spend some time with them. This trip gave me a break from all flood stuff, and it gave me perspective.  When people tell you 'You were lucky, you got out safely and are all well', they are right.  I know it was of little consolation when all my belonging were swirling in a giant poopy mud puddle in my basement, but when I look at my husband and children, I am reminded of my great fortune.

When I hear the stories of High River, where home owners have not been allowed re-entry for 25 days, and the Siksika Nation and Hidden Valley, where whole homes were washed away.  Lifetimes of memories gone.  So many people homeless.  I remember the sense of anxiety I felt for two days waiting to get into my home, I can't imagine the anguish of waiting nearly a month, while black mould takes over, causing more devastation than the rising river and backing up sewers.  I realize we were lucky, it could have been much much worse.

This is when I cry.  I cry for these people who have lost everything. The people who 'You were lucky you got out safely and are all well' is still of little consolation.  I cry for the people who didn't have a garage ready to accept saved belongings, the people who didn't have family they could stay with during the evacuation, and after when their homes were destroyed.  I cry for the people who made valiant efforts to move their belongings up from the basement only to have their main floor flood.  I cry for the people who weren't able to salvage precious photos or jewellery.

I also cry when I am moved by the overwhelming goodness of the human spirit.  Of neighbours helping each others out, of strangers helping strangers, of friends helping friends.  I cry tears of joy when I am moved by the community spirt that has abound in this terrible situation.  And I am reminded, we lost some stuff, but we found a community and yes, we were lucky, we got out safely and we are all well.

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