This is a street in my neighborhood. It’s what greeted us as we returned home after evacuating during Hurricane Matthew. Our neighborhood was one of the lucky ones. There was some flood damage done to several houses and some trees were knocked down. There were tons of branches strewn about, but for the most part, our subdivision was spared. We felt relieved when we got home to see that our house had been spared any damage. Gloria’s place did not sustain any damage either. Our hearts go out to those who were in of the path of the hurricane who suffered property loss and more importantly to those who lost a loved one.
We’ve lived in Charleston since 2004. There have been other hurricanes that came close, but none of them had our government officials calling for evacuation. We decided early on after we moved here that if an evacuation was ever called for, we would leave. This was the first time our resolve to leave was tested.
Let the packing begin! We keep all of our important documents in a fire box, so that was easy to locate and pack. Beyond that, we had ample time to decide what other items to take with us. I packed lots of clothes, my jewelry and a few other personal items. But, as I looked around my home, I could not imagine losing a life time of mementos, photos, and keepsakes. I knew that space would be limited so I set about trying to decide which items I could take. These are not mere items though. To us, they are treasures.
Rather than choosing to take items that have monetary value, I was drawn to things like a multi colored clay dish that Gloria made for me when she was in elementary school, a sea shell mold that my son Ryan made when he was young, a little dish that was made for me when my oldest son was born, a small, old tool that belonged to my husband’s grandfather, and a clock that has special meaning to my husband. I packed a box full of these treasures and more like them and left, knowing that the most important thing was our safety.
Not knowing if the storm would ravage our home was difficult. Trying to follow the progression of it online and through the weather channel was unnerving. We went to our oldest son’s home near Atlanta and waited. I don’t think any of us slept very much at all last week. The hurricane approached Charleston Friday night and lingered through Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon, the reports of damage were coming in over the news. There was no specific mention of the area in which we live, so we took that as a good sign. Still, it wasn’t until we arrived home on Sunday evening that we truly exhaled.
After the initial relief, I found myself grumbling about having to toss the contents of a freezer and a refrigerator that were both full of food. As I was cleaning up the freezer and doing a mental calculation of just how much monetary value I was tossing, I stopped and looked at my husband. Not to be overly dramatic, but it truly did feel like time just stopped. I felt ashamed of myself for complaining about this minimal loss when so many people lost so much. Our home was spared, we were safe. How foolish to complain about losing groceries!
We have been fortunate. That’s not something to take for granted. It also compels me to want to do something for those who were less fortunate during the storm. The very least we can do is to make a donation to help those in need in the aftermath of the storm. If you are in a position to do the same, I would encourage you to visit the following link to see how you can help.
Hug your loved ones. Call those who aren’t nearby. Say “I love you.” Be thankful. Help others. Those are my takeaways from Hurricane Matthew.