I watched the news, like all of you, as Harvey and Irma pounded the shores of Texas and Florida. Millions evacuated, powerless to nature’s destruction. I have friends in both states that posted pictures and status updates to their situations. Homes and cars destroyed. Hundreds of billions of dollars in damage. Lives lost. And in the wake of what I witnessed with 2005’s Hurricane Katrina through my family, things will never be the same.
I think what most captures my attention is the surprise from the devastation. We’ve seen hurricanes before. Our meteorologists are better at predicting the storm’s path and its likely havoc than ever before. We know where it will hit, what it will destroy, and what it will cost to taxpayers, insurance companies, and individuals before the hurricane ever makes landfall. And yet the surprise, the disbelief, at what has just happened when it actually does should be bewildering, and yet it is. It’s as if no one saw it coming.
Preparing for a storm and living through one are very different. Witnessing a storm through the testimony of friends and actually experiencing it are not the same.
Tiffanni’s mom, Glenda, was two years from her death when I met her. Huntington’s had taken so much and she lived in a full-time nursing home. I saw the end and I know where the trail leads. But it hasn’t prepared me at all for what has happened over the last nine months. Watching a storm and experiencing a storm are like being in the NBA versus playing a pick-up game in the church gym. And I just can’t keep up with all of the changes. I’ve used this forum to process, to update, and to give me a reflective space to find God in the small things. But I can’t keep up.
The last several months have been jarring- whiplash. Trying to adjust to one change, only for it to last a few weeks and then on to a completely different one is hard. For six years we had slow changes. Enough time to adjust to a new normal before something else would interject a revision of our routine. But this year has been a hurricane. Not one that I watched, one that I’ve experienced.
I get asked every day, “How are you doing?” The truth is that I’m not sure right now. My support system is stellar. My children are resilient. Tiffanni is manageable. But there is an undercurrent of grief just below the surface that I’ve been able to keep at arm’s length. It’s there, bubbling, rumbling, but contained. The changes have been too fast to be able to reflect. Not enough time to adjust before the next evolution. With each change is this adrenaline rush of resolve and before it wears off is another change. So, thank you so much for asking. Your kindness and concern at times is overwhelming. But, unfortunately, I don’t know how I’m doing. I just know that my neck is sore.