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My experience with hurricane Irma

Why I decided to stay in Miami during hurricane Irma.  Making the decision to stay or leave during hurricane Irma was a difficult decision.  My mother’s home which she has lived in for over 50 years needed to be prepared and she did not want to leave her home.  She has been through many hurricanes over the past 50 years.  Her husband who was a hoarder and recently passed away accumulated many things that were still left in the yard and porch that needed to be thrown out or brought into the house.  Otherwise, things would be flying around the yard and the yards of others possibly causing damage.

Since October 2016, when I came down to Florida from Pittsburgh I had been working on assisting them with decluttering the house and making it safe for them.  It has been a difficult project.  It was dangerous for my mother and our neighbors for us to leave irresponsibly with the house not being prepared if it could be avoided.  There was uncertainty the whole time of not knowing on a daily basis of which path hurricane Irma would take.

Growing up in this house I also experienced many hurricanes as a child.  Now as a responsible older adult my feelings were different.  Feeling fear like I never felt before preparing for all of the what if’s that I could think of and what other’s had shared with me.  I did not want to be irresponsible by leaving all these items in the yard and porch that would fly all over the place and not only possibly causing harm to us and others but also possibly damaging my mothers home or our neighbors homes.

We were also in a non-evacuation zone and the governor of Florida said many times Floridians did not have to evacuate if they were not in the evacuation zones.  That he wanted them to stay and if they did not feel safe to go to a shelter.  One of our options was to go to my sisters in Tennessee which we talked about and there were traffic jams on the highways and a shortage of gas.  Also, I wanted to leave that option available for those who were in the evacuation zones that needed to evacuate and would to be able to without having cars on the road that did not need to be there. The other option was to go to a dog friendly shelter.  Then the third option was to prepare the house the best we could and stay in it.  It took us until the winds had started to prepare the house and finish which meant we were staying in the house.  We tried to prepare the house the best we could and prayed to God that we would be watched over and kept safe.

Some of our neighbors stayed in their homes so we did not feel alone.  The kind men who boarded our windows said if we needed anything to call and they would come and assist.  Our decision was for the good of all.  We took care of our neighbors, ourselves and our home the best we could.

One of the lessons I have learned is the more possessions we have the more cumbersome our life becomes!!!

Here is what I journaled during the hurricane to try and calm myself:

The wind is blowing in so many different directions.  It is a wild ride.  Trees blowing through the wind.  Power lines popped through the wind.  Power lines blowing up and sparks flying.  The wind sounds like a roaring car.  Possibly 100mph winds.  Noises being made I never heard before.  Things banging around.  Birds and lizards left early.  They knew.  Had not seen them for days before hurricane Irma approached.  The energy of Irma was teasing all of us by wind, then no wind, calm then furry.  Weaving in and out.  The ebb and flow of life.  Flashing lights outside.  Electrical power lost.

Our neighbor came out in the hurricane several times to check on us.  He would yell through the winds to ask if we were alright.  Even though he told me to NOT open the door during the hurricane, he ventured outside to check on his surroundings and check on us.  We were grateful.

We were without electrical power for over a week which was difficult with the heat.  The comforts of life.  The damage to my mother’s home was screens in the porch were blown out, water damage in the some of the walls and tree debris in the yard.  Lots of tree debris in the streets and it has not been cleaned up even after almost a month has gone by. Traumatized but grateful we were all safe.

In my lifetime I have been through many hurricanes, a house fire where are family lost most of our possessions, but we were all safe and that is all that matters.  Earthquakes, a polar vortex, two apartment floods and now hurricane Irma.  I pray to God that I have learned what I needed to learn about natural disasters and that for the remaining of my years on this earth that I have completed this lesson.  Amen!

Grateful to God for watching over my family and friends.  Thank you to everyone for all your prayers, support and encouragement during this difficult time.

September 17, 2017 This post was written by Categories: Yonah's Blog 2 comments

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