Monday, March 26, 2012

Lately - 3/26

This morning, my heart dropped when I took Claire into the bagel shop with me, and she commented "Oooh, windyyy," with a hint of concern in her sweet little two-year-old voice. Of course I immediately wondered if she's was remembering the 130 mph winds that tore through our house. Well, really, she'd only remember the part where we were huddled in the corner as the winds blew by the walk-out basement windows, as neither she nor I actually knew they were tearing through our house and roof as well. Or if she was just being a two-year-old who parrots everything she sees and experiences with her ever-growing vocabulary. I don't remember her ever saying "windy" before although in the past I never would have thought twice about the word. Now, I hear the ever-so-slight howl of the cool March wind outside my window while I'm trying to sleep, and must immediately shut them as the sound sends shivers down my back. I don't need an auditory reminder, I have plenty of other reminders, thankyouverymuch. How I ended up on the side of the bed that's closer to the window was probably not intentional, but I might as well be there. Maybe it wasn't just dumb luck that we got out of harm's way just in the nick of time that night, maybe I am some sort of good luck charm. OK no, that's just crazy talking.
Someone from my neighborhood set up a Facebook page for us to join and talk about things. Whether it's contractors, insurance companies, donations, 'our feelings', or reaching out to one another, I'm really glad I found the group. Someone posted about being apprehensive about going back to work (check!), about their heart hurting for their children (CHECK!), about feeling like "the rest of the world" doesn't "get it". I don't mean that in a global sense, obviously, but in an inner-circle sense. Someone said (and I paraphrase): "It bugs me to log on to Facebook and see that people are just going about their lives when I am sitting here dealing with this crap." (Check!) Reading that and all of the other posts has at the very least validated my feelings thus far in this ridiculous experience. Yes, I know, no one got hurt and it's just possessions and material things that were lost. For that, I am beyond grateful. I could sit here sobbing all day with gratitude. Literally. You have no idea. But the fact that no one was physically hurt doesn't take away from the emotional toll this has taken on me. And I say that only as someone who was in their house, within 20 feet of the tornado and witnessed it with my very own eyes as my daughter and my dog lay beneath me. The weight of that experience isn't something that goes away just because we're safe and sound and because several days have passed. Honestly, the stress of dealing with re-building our house and re-buying our material things is only superficial stress, and sometimes I choose to focus on that stress instead of the underlying stress of feeling like I cheated death because that's all my body and mind can handle at the moment... the superficial stress. It sounds dramatic, but I really think there are only a few people in my neighborhood who understand it. I think the tornado only hit about a dozen or two houses (but damaged over 100?), so it's just a small group of us who actually have these feelings of "holy shit, that was fucking terrifying and how am I still alive?"
Well, I didn't realize I had so much to say this morning. I'm finding it hard to focus on my work this morning. It all started with just a sweet little voice. "Oooh, windyyy."


Grace said...

Once I got in a car accident. Maintenance workers accidentally spilled oil all over a very curvy, narrow mountain highway; going around a corner, my car skidded on the oil and I lost control. The car flipped off the road and turned over in the air as it plummeted down the cliffside (it was a steep section). Luckily for me, the car happened to land in a large pine tree, which stopped its fall.

The fall was only a few seconds, but I can still remember it, and how I felt calmly realizing I was going to die. When I landed, I just sat there (still strapped in), dangling in mid-air, too stunned to do anything. Eventually I clambered out of the passenger window, climbed up the cliff, and hiked into town (not a good idea, but I wasn't thinking straight; I was given a stern lecture by the emergency workers later, as I could have had a concussion and caused myself permanent damage traipsing around).

I wasn't hurt at all, beyond a strained neck and a few bruises. But it took a few weeks before I stopped feeling shaky. When you have a close brush with death like that, it's really scary. I can't even imagine how much more frightening it would be if your child was at risk too.

So sorry that you are going through this. Take good care of yourself!

Meg said...

I have been thinking about you a lot lately - sometimes I'll find myself just looking around my house and thinking how much effort and care we put into choosing our possessions and making sure everything looks just right in our home and then in a matter of seconds, it can literally be blown away. My heart hurts for you - and I know it's not just the possessions but the fact that they symoblize your safety, your routine, your once predictable life can be yanked out from underneath you like that. I'm glad you're writing about it - I always think it's cathatric just to write to process and I hope it helps you work through your thoughts just to put them somewhere besides bouncing around your head. I'm so thankful you and Claire were safe, but I think your "holy shit how did we escape that?" feelings are totally valid.

Lindsay Collins said...

Thanks to both of you for the comments. They each really touched me, you have no idea.