Lessons from Irma

Thank you all for your kind support over the past couple of weeks. Irma packed a wallop on the entire state of Florida.  She was unpredictable in her exact path and her girth was so wide she reached from the Atlantic to the Gulf, wider than any hurricane ever to set an eye on the shores our Sunshine State. She left only the far western tip of the panhandle untouched by her fury.

The lessons Irma provided were valuable and I hope to keep them alive much longer than it takes to rebuild from her destruction. What do you take with you when you fear your home might be severely damaged or destroyed? I have often thought about this, photos, letters, mementos, clothes?  I discovered, when it came right down to it, there wasn’t much I needed.

My responsibility was to be sure my 93-year-old mother in law was safe and out of harm’s way so we flew to Nashville, a wonderful city with generous people and wonderful food! I had a few hours to pack before we left and wondered what do I bring with me to prevent having to sort through the rubble looking for my treasures like we have seen so often captured on TV following a natural disaster.  I brought the beautiful diamond pin bequeathed to me by my 101-year-old dear friend Laura Carmichael, I wore my wedding rings which are my most treasured possessions, I included the necklace my husband gave me on our wedding day and the pearls he gave me on our 35th wedding anniversary a few short weeks ago.  I looked around the house at our collection of things and realized if it all blew away I would still be wealthy beyond measure because the things that really mattered I brought with me.

My relationships with those I love came with me. My memories of my family and friends and colleagues came with me. The images of my full and vibrant life came with me. My open heart came with me. My successes and failures came with me. My future came with me. My computer and iPad and phone came with me (some things were essential for survival of course!) And I felt satisfied.

As I watched the destruction so vividly displayed on the Weather Channel from the comfort of my air-conditioned hotel room in Nashville, I felt guilty for not being with my husband to weather the storm. Yet I knew his level of relief was great knowing his mother and I were safe. Our home in Gainesville Florida was without electricity for eight days. When you live in the woods it is the price you pay for having trees rather than people for neighbors.  Our home is fine, the power lines are repaired, the air conditioner is churning out cold air and hot water flows; the fallen trees were removed by a friend and his tractor and we are certain of what’s important to us.  Love.  Friends and neighbors and family all pulling together to make the best from the worst.  With a grateful heart, I say Thank You!

It's good to have a friend with a tractor!


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