Barry, oh Barry. You arrived late and then left without making much of an impression. And we are grateful! Your tardiness and lack of effort were quite welcome to those of us still suffering from storm shock. Let me just say, on behalf of all the 2016 Flood survivors, thank you!
Barry taught us that the 2016 Flood has changed everything about the way we approach hurricane season. Gone are the days when we casually half-prepare for hurricanes and tropical storms. Here are the days when we neurotically over prepare. This past weekend, sandbags were the most popular accessory for front and back doors once again. Generators were flying off the shelves. Water and bread were all but sprouting wings and soaring out of grocery stores. Social media was a bevy of meteorological projections and maps, updated every few hours. We rushed into full on disaster mode. Prayers were being flung far and wide, pleading for mercy. “Not another one, God!” The struggle was very real.
I can remember all the years before 2016 when flooding was the last thing on my mind. When a hurricane was projected, I worried about losing power and possible wind damage. For those storms, all I experienced, really, was some inconvenience and discomfort. I watched the devastation of Katrina, but personally, the most I had ever encountered was some heat and darkness. All of that changed August 13, 2016. The threat of flood is now the first thought in my mind, and then it does not leave. So close are all of the memories of our city being mostly underwater that I can’t function normally when a weather event is near. I stare out our back door anticipating how far the water will get this time. I consult friends and family. I walk around in a half-daze imagining going through all of that again. I know I’m not the only one! Text messages pop up on my phone and computer from friends and family contemplating our chances. We prepare and prepare and then wait and wait.
Friends, I am here to tell you that I don’t think this new normal is going away anytime soon. We are going to have to figure out how to work through this anxiety and fear. I’m pretty sure that hurricane seasons from now on are going to be tainted with the 2016 hangover. What can we do? Here are my “words of wisdom”:
- Preparing is a good thing, as long as you don’t break your bank in fear.
- Hurricane snacks are a necessary indulgence (my goodness, so many snacks), especially for your littles.
- Remember to breathe, and in the chaos, find your calm. Take a walk before it gets bad. Take a hot bath while you still have power. Buy a crossword puzzle book and get busy! Check out some books to occupy your mind.
- Express your fears to an understanding and trusted person in your life or journal your fears.
- Hold your loved ones tight and find some new ways to spend quality (cabin fever) time.
- Prepare for the worst and hope for the best! Exercise your faith and hope muscles.
We live in South Louisiana, y’all. The storms aren’t going anywhere. They may not change their paths, but we can work on changing ours. I know we’ve been through it, some more than others, but we can face the storms. The sun will shine again. If you are one of those that Barry did mess with, I am sorry. It sucks. I can tell you to take the rebuilding and recovery process one step at a time. If you need, you can practice tips #3, 4, 5, and 6! Those pretty much apply to everything in life.
Our new normal may be a little annoying, but I think we will grow more than we ever thought. Best wishes in the upcoming hurricane season!
Bread Aisle Photo Credit: Kirsten Raby & Furniture Photo Credit: Erin Crain & Kristen Tackett.