Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rest of the Story Part 3

My previous posts have covered most of the aspects of the Katrina Mess, but not all of them. Even as I reread my posts, I remember additional things that I should have mentioned. But alas, the rest of the story is still happening. Just as there are people in New Orleans trying to clean up the debris a year later, all of us are still cleaning up the debris metaphorically within ourselves.

In all actuality, my little family faired pretty well. We lived on the second floor of our building and we were renting. Both of those factors saved us the additional heartache that many had to go through. But don't underestimate Katrina's affect on our lives. We did not attempt to stay and weather the storm. Having a 6 week old, we were planning our evacuation even at 3am on the Friday before. But I wouldn't say we were prepared. The dishes were dirty, the clothes were dirty, we left behind much of our usual evacuation momentos and memories. Don't tell us we are so fortunate and don't tell us that we must be settled in now. We know we are fortunate. Many of our friends and family weren't, and we saw the devestation first hand. We had 9 feet of water in our building. Our downstairs neighbors didn't even bother coming back. What was there to come back to? The mold was to the ceiling and the waterline nearly to the ceiling as well.

The emotional debris that Katrina has left for us to pick up is equally traumatic. The city that we called home lay in ruins in October when we were finally allowed in to survey the damage and retrieve our stuff. All of our friends and church family was scattered. None remained but 3 family's we knew and one of those is desperately looking for a way out. The life we knew disappeared in an instant. The home we had so precisely prepared for Mercy's arrival is gone. The community that surrounded us like a comforting blanket has been ripped from our arms, and we often feel cold and alone. The support group and the work that brought additional purpose and meaning to my life is no more, though I can not complain about my role as full time mother. It is just lonely.

We did lose some things and those things were precious. In addition, Katrina scattered my family of origin. That came as quite a shock since our circling of the wagons through this tragedy was one of the main support beams in my life. And the rebuilding on this end is slow too. We still barely make ends meet even as careful and frugal as we are. We have found a church home, but no real small group--which we miss desperately! Thus, I have no real friends around me. This was not the road I would have chosen, but it is the journey I accept. There is purpose, and just like many of those in New Orleans who have chosen to rebuild their homes, I chose to rebuild my life and home however much sacrifice and work it takes. I may not be building my property and such in New Orleans, but I chose to join with that "New Orleans Spirit" and pick up the pieces of my life. Our life certainly will never be the same, but it will be something.