Maybe you’ve lived through it yourself with with a family member. Hurricane, tornado, fire, flood….
Or maybe you haven’t, and have just seen it on the news and felt bad but couldn’t fathom it. That was me. I couldn’t fathom it. Even though I was seeing the photos of the area before I got to my Mom’s, I couldn’t understand.
I didn’t get it that 90% was going to be lost. I knew she’d had water in there, muddy floody water, but I didn’t get it. I didn’t know that every single cabinet would be ripped out and tossed; a lot of furniture ruined; drywall and insulation ripped out and flooring too until it’s just studs and plywood. When I finally walked into the house it wasn’t the muddy, chaotic mess of the first two days. They were already well into the gutting out process but it was heartwrenching to see. It was a shock. Something she’d designed and built not 3 years ago quite. By the time I arrived, mold was growing on things. Some stuff made of cheaper stuff like particle-board or similar couldn’t be saved. A lot of heirloom pieces had the veneer peeling off. Some pieces got sent to a restorer in an emergency phone call after we realized we’d lose some really important shit if we didn’t. I lost the piano I grew up playing for so many years. I used to feel ambivalent about it, til it got ruined. But when the cost of saving it was weighed with the cost of other things, I gave it up. I’m still sad though.
Thankfully only a few of mom’s photo albums got soaked, the ones she wrote in descriptions for. But hundreds of packets of photos that never made it into albums got wet and I have them with me at home now, and will try to salvage them.
Everybody says things like “Your mom is safe, healthy and alive, and so are her cats – that’s all that really matters”. “Her house is still standing…..gutted, but can be saved – it could be worse”. Yes. These things are true. These things are true ONLY because we have amazing family and local volunteers. People also say “They’re only items/furniture”. But when the items are very old and belonged to generations long gone, they almost contain the ghosts of those people. The items hold memories. It’s hard to lose them. I look at that one piece and remember it being in my gram’s house, growing up. I remember what was in it when it was hers. It was going to be mine. It was someone else’s before it was Gram’s. A china cabinet (to which I have the matching table) is one of very few things rescued from my grandmother’s home as a child when it was burning. That china cabinet was saved from a fire, and now it’s being saved from a flood by a restorer.
I cried when I first walked into the house. I took photos. And then I lost it when I saw my daddy’s thermal vest hanging up on the porch railing, muddy. It was the only clothing item I’d kept of his. I can remember being small enough of a child that I could curl up in it while it was zipped, and hide in it. We were able to wash it and hopefully save it. I see that and see my dad. So no, these aren’t just THINGS.
The universe decided to kick me in the gut while I was gone, and my site got hacked while I was defenseless with no internet access or computer. Thankfully AAG was able to eventually find the stubborn cause and cure it. I also oddly got tons of requests to join ToySwap, all while I can’t do a thing about it. *shrugs* It can wait.
I’m glad to be home. I know mom needed me even though I couldn’t help physically much, but I couldn’t be there anymore. I was constantly tired and in pain and frustrated/emotional, just as she was. It’s not easy.
I can’t fathom if we’d been one of the ones to lose everything.
I can’t. We lost so much already, if we didn’t have these remaining pieces and photos to cling to I can’t even fathom it. I know I’d forget too many important memories in the near future. My photos are my memories, as my mind starts deteriorating because of the fibro.
Regular “sex” blogging will return somewhat soon, i think.