Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mixed Emotions

When Hubby and I got married nearly 16 years ago, we didn't have much. For the first few months of our marriage, we lived with his dad in a little house in Kemah, just a stone's throw from Galveston Bay. The house where Hubby grew up. There were three bedrooms - one for us, one for my father-in-law, and one for little Navy Son. There was one bathroom. There was no central a/c or heat - it was winter and we used space heaters and the fireplace to keep warm. We celebrated our first Christmas in that house. We made a lot of memories in that house. When we got our own apartment, then our own house, we still came back to that little house by the bay with our children to visit their grandfather. Six years ago my father-in-law passed away, and tho the house now belongs to Hubby and his brother, their grandmother is living out her years in that little house.

This week we were finally able to drive into Kemah to see the house. It is destroyed. The house is still standing, but during the storm it had over 5 feet of water inside; the furniture is all topsy-turvy, as if someone picked up the house and shook it like a snow globe; there is a stinky layer of sludge all over the floor, and you can barely walk inside without slipping; the smell is awful; almost nothing inside is salvageable. The house will likely have to be leveled.

Scenes like this, and so many more around this area, are heartbreaking. Perhaps Hubby and I take all this a little harder because we were born and raised here in Clear Lake and Galveston County. This area is HOME to us. Restaurants we love, places we used to hang out, landmarks that have always been there - all are ruined. Even tho our house that we now live in is not majorly damaged, the view of our world is. This place has been forever changed.

I can't help but feel guilty that we fared so well (sorry, D...!). Maybe it's Survivor Guilt. I don't know. Nearly one week after Ike blew thru, my life is slowly returning to "normal" - more places have electricity (altho many still do not), more stores and restaurants are beginning to open, I have electricity and cable in my home, and I am comfortable. But when I get in my car and drive - not far at all - the harsh reality that Ike was here hits me in the face. Life will not be "normal" for a while. There's a LOT of mess to be cleaned up. My kids will not get to go back to school until Sept. 29. The face of this entire area has been changed.

I am blessed beyond belief. Yet I find myself asking, "Why me? Why was I spared? Why is my family all OK when so many others are not?" I can feel happy that things are going so well for us - happy that the power came back on, happy that Bubba's Mom and Dad brought us milk when they came home from Dallas today, happy that we have food in our pantry and gas in our cars. And then I feel sad for the loss and devastation all around us. For the pets they are showing on TV that people actually left behind and are now orphaned. For Hubby's grandmother who lost everything she had in one terrible night.

We will recover. This area will come back. Our people - even Granny - will be fine. I know that, and I am praising God over and over that it is true.

So why do I feel so bad?


forgetfulone said...

It's hard not to feel bad when you see places you've grown to love destroyed, people you love lose their homes, and so on. I know. I'm there, too. Down the street. Feeling the same thing, but also feeling blessed and trying to understand that God has a plan for every hurt, for every pain, there is a bigger plan. His plan isn't to hurt us, but to move us forward to better things. I understand what you're feeling, my friend. I do.

D... said...

Wait, don't Sorry D.... That makes me seem callous when you know that I have the same emotions.

I agree with what Forgetfulone said and that's the place I'm trying to get to now. The guilt isn't helping anyone so I'm trying to push past it. I might not have lived here all my life but I still care that the entire area and so many lives have been changed.

We just have to get our lives back to normal. And help those who need our help. I believe that's why some are spared. To help those who weren't. The district is setting up a donation center. These kids are going to need school clothes & supplies. I can help with that. I still have Lamb's standardized clothes and I can go through Bear's closet. I can buy backpacks & school supplies. Helping will help my/our emotions. We will feel like we are doing something.

Laura said...

I have been a reader of your blog for a long time now, but I don't think I've ever commented. I grew up in Sugar Land, my mom's whole family is from Texas City/Galveston, but now I live in California. Your blog reminds me of home and the wonderful people that live there.

My parents recently (3 months ago) retired to Crystal Beach. They evacuated, so they are okay, which is most important, but even more miraculously, they can see satellite pictures of their house and it is still standing. They do not know what kind of damage is done, and it seems like it will be months before they will even be let back in. They are in a terrible situation, but yet, they are extremely lucky to not be left with just stilts in the air.

Anyway, I don't really know what I'm trying to say, but your blog always brings a smile to my face. And everyone in the great city of Houston will persevere. Survivors guilt is hard. Being all the way in California away from my family has made me addicted to every news bit I can find. I stream live feeds from the news stations at work all day. I feel guilty that I have beautiful weather and electricity and my family has neither, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of others.

So I guess its okay to feel guilty, but its good to use those feelings to help those in need. And remember that you are not alone.

Okay, I did not mean for this to be the longest comment ever, and hopefully I'll comment more in the future and stop being such a blog stalker :)

Tales From the Eurovan said...

I love what everyone has written. I would imagine that you will probably spend a fair amount of time going through the grieving process. It probably comes with the situation and the stress that you (a others) experienced. I sure hope the Avon Breast Walk will still take place in Houston next year. If so, sign me up as a way to honor others and the great city of Houston.
Take care,

Patois said...

You feel so bad because you are human, and you love your life, and you're sure others loved theirs. God bless you and everyone there.

Tootie said...

I'm so sorry that all the people there had to suffer through this. With an attitude like yours, I'm sure they will come out of it in fine shape. God bless you all.

Anonymous said...

You feel bad because you are compassionate. That isn't bad. It's so hard to see an area you love ravaged. I'm praying for you guys.

StaceyG said...

I can totally relate to this post. I am feeling the same way. (hugs)

jennyonthespot said...

You are mourning - and with good reason. Hugs and many prayers for you and your family... big hugs :)