When we get these hurricanes brewing, my PTSD pops out a little. I lived in one of the areas destroyed by Andrew. Not Homestead, where the eye passed thru, but about 10-15 miles up the road.
My neighborhood was leveled. They discovered the tornadoes within the hurricane based on the debris swirl patterns in the cul de sacs of my neighborhood. Building codes were revised partially based on the damage patterns found in my development.
Our house was actually deemed “habitable” by the county. I think they used that term loosely because who wants to live in a house in a war zone. Our block was occupied and we had nightly citizen patrols for over a week before INS showed up to be our protection. A nearby friend has his jacuzzi stolen — WTF that was bold because he was living in his place.
Taz was 2-years-old when Andrew arrived. Her potty training ended abruptly. I have no idea how I gave her as much normalcy as I did. Our dog went nuts after the storm and bit her and another child before I insisted she be put to sleep.
I was just thinking about how the Hurricane Dorian drumbeat has been steadily thumping away for a solid week. It’s exhausting and mind-numbing. For Andrew, we realized that we were in for trouble only the day before. We spent Saturday setting up computers at my Ex’s office. We came home, turned on the news and said, “crap”. The next day the grocery store was so packed we had to park across the street and follow someone to their car to get a shopping cart.
We only evacuated (it was mandatory) about 10 miles west to my sister-in-Law’s rental. We rode the storm out in a 2-bedroom townhouse with about 12 people. My father-in-law was in and out of diabetic shock throughout the storm.
We returned home the night after the storm. We slept there with no electricity in the pitch dark with looting all around. It was hot, buggy and scary as hell. Our small local bank was wiped out and my Ex went by as they forced open the vault to distribute cash to customers.
I can go on and on about our survival after the storm. My temporary home for 6 weeks with friends, the never-ending recovery, the friendships, divorces, hurricane babies and more. My point in all of this is that what you see on TV and read about is not even scratching the surface. What the folks in the Bahamas just survived is only the beginning of their nightmare. It takes years, up to a decade, to recover from a storm like Dorian. I am thinking of the Bahamians tonight. No electricity, devastation as far as they can see and nothing but a very long slog of heart and back breaking work ahead of them.
They are all in my prayers and I hope they are in yours as well. I am incredibly grateful that we were spared. I feel blessed and very, very fortunate.