My boys and I left last Monday night. We evacuated hours after finding out that school would be canceled for the remainder of the week.
Before that, I was wondering what to do. Because we’d hunkered down through other storms and been fine. Hurricane Florence could still have turned at that point and end up not hitting our area.
Evacuating is a tough decision to make: you are leaving, not knowing if you really need to, needing to take along your belongings, and having to have a safe a place to stay.
My husband had told the boys and me to go, that we might as well, just to be on the safe side. He was staying behind for work, and to keep an eye on things, and because some friends were staying, too, and maybe even a little of not thinking it would be all that bad. With school being canceled and because I work my job from wherever there is WiFi, we hesitantly decided to leave, just the four of us.
I threw some things in suitcases for us. About a week’s worth of clothes, needed medications, phones, laptops, chargers, my wallet… that was about it. I really didn’t think we’d be gone for more than a few days.
We headed to Florida, to stay with a friend. It’s one of those rare instances where people were evacuating TO Florida, but given the projected path of the storm, it seemed like a good idea and having a friend open her home to us made it an easy choice.
So, the past week, it was visiting with my friend and her family, still working my job, and keeping up with my boys who felt like they are on vacation. It was all a bit surreal.
I am not ordinarily a huge Facebook person, but I checked in all the time to keep up with friends who stayed. And as the pics and videos rolled in, the enormity of everything started to hit me.
This is not a little bit of water. It’s not a little bit of flooding. It’s not just an inconvenience of lack of electricity and water.
It’s looking at a town and seeing complete destruction and devastation. Roads I usually drive on every day, places we go on a regular basis(including my boys’ schools), the neighborhoods surrounding ours… it’s a lot to take in.
The boys and I are safe and our day-to-day life appears normal (or even fun) from the outside because we are hundreds of miles away. And I’m trying to keep them that way for my boys because they’ll face reality soon enough when we return. And I do no one any good by having a full-on breakdown.
But meanwhile, my husband is still back there, along with friends and neighbors. Homes are flooded. Ours is currently not… but that’s just of this posting. I’ve always wanted to live on an island, but I’m not thrilled to report that my little cul-de-sac has become one, with everything around us flooded and waters still rising.
I go back and forth between being relieved to be out of there and guilt that I’m not there. Not that I could get back at this point with roads closed and our county literally barricaded off so no one can currently get back in. And then I feel like I shouldn’t even be able to even talk about the worry because I’m not in the thick of it so my stress from afar is nothing compared to what those who are still there are experiencing.
I’m thankful my husband and friends are safe. I’m thankful the boys and I have somewhere to stay. I’m thankful I can continue to work. I’m thankful for all who have checked in on us.
But I have no idea what we will be returning to, whenever we can eventually return.