Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sleep and Floods

Sleep evades me tonight like so many nights since TBHITW passed on.

It is hard to believe that a year of "firsts" has come and gone.

I find it difficult to cook. The one thing that has always brought me solace. Peace. And nourishment eludes me.

My tiny town has been devastated by Hurricane Irene. So many people's homes and lives have been forever altered. Yet, I remind myself that it is just stuff. Thankfully no one lost their lives in my community. Yet so many others up and and down the east coast are just beginning the grief journey. A road full of twists and tormented turns that they will have to travel alone. Even with the help of wonderful friends and family they will have to find their own route. Mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, co-workers, grandparents.. so many people touch our lives that it is hard to imagine how many grieve when someone leaves this world.

For every one person gone, a village weeps.

I have forever changed my opinion on death. At one time when I read or heard of someone passing on I would think "poor thing.. so young, or so tragic or too soon". Now - I think of the survivors and what they have to bear. The sadness sometimes threatens to take my breath away.

I spent 36 hours defending my home against Irene. Thirty-six hours of my heart beating out of my chest as the winds and rain battered our home. At one point my youngest son and I  bailed water for 3 hours -from one in the morning until four am. Arms screaming with the exertion. Water coming in through the laundry tubs and sump pump faster than we could bail. I prayed. I bargained. I asked both Jim and God to help me. And my prayers were answered. Unlike 50% of my little town my home suffered just minor damage. A cracked chimney. A downed tree. Some water damage to the ceilings. Others were not so lucky; they had to be evacuated from their homes, walls collapsed as did foundations. Cars were washed away along with precious family memories. But they survived. And I survived, albeit lonely, scared, and wishing every minute TBHITW was here to help us.

Now the clean up begins. Power was finally restored to our town. The community will rebuild, fix, move forward. Like grief, the torrent recedes and everyone moves forward.

Life goes on.


  1. I am glad you are safe! I guess this was another first, though, wasn't it. My heart hurts for you.

    I will go give Patti a call, now. We always end up crying together. If my tears help her, though I am willing to hurt with her. As my season winds down I will be able to go to her and not just call. We have a trip to the cemetary planned and then I will just let the day unfold as she wishes. I am building a memory garden for Paul here in the campground. Patti wants to bring her motorhome out to their old site and the garden overlooks it. My sweet husband has built a bench and I am gathering frog statuary(he loved frogs, too). The bench will face Patti's site, so that Paul will have a spot to sit and watch over her. Bittersweet project. I will post pictures when I am done. I hope it brings a measure of comfort to her.

    When I think about my friends, and I consider you to be one, losing their mates; it just hurts so much. I want to help, but I realize that the only thing I can do is to be there and just share in the grief. There is no "thing" that will ease thepain and sadness, only time. I cherish every moment I have with my sweet husband.

  2. Kathy,

    I believe in the language of flowers. To help your friend in her grief here are some suggestions for plants (and their meanings). My garden has changed this season with the addition of specific plants that “speak” to me. You are a good friend for doing this for her.

    Water Lily: Purity of Heart
    Marigold: grief
    White Aster: Patience
    Yarrow: Cure for a broken heart
    Zinnia: I mourn your absence
    Tulip: Declaration of love
    Verbena: Pray for me
    Vetch: I cling to thee
    Stonecrop: tranquility
    Thrift: Sympathy
    Scarlet Pimpernel: Change
    Snowdrop: Consolation and hope
    Stock: you will always be beautiful to me
    Rosemary: remembrance
    Pink Rose: Grace
    Red Rose: Love
    Black Poplar: courage
    White Poplar: time
    Protea: courage
    Pear blossom: comfort
    phlox: our souls are united.
    Periwinkle: Tender recollections
    Pansy: think of me
    Mistletoe: I surmount all obstacles
    Lily of the Valley: return of happiness
    Helenium: tears
    Heliotrope: devoted affection
    Honeysuckle: devotion
    Ginger: strength
    Forget me not: forget me not
    Freesia: Lasting friendship
    Cypress: mourning
    Dogwood: love undiminished by adversity
    Cranberry: cure for heatache
    Carnation (striped): I cannot be with you.
    Carnation (pink): I will never forget you.
    Carnation (red): my heart breaks
    Baby’s breath: everlasting love

    This is just a short list. You an look up the language of flowers on Wikipedia – my gardens are messages to myself to carry on. It may comfort your friend to know that each planting is designed to bring her comfort and strength.


  3. I haven't seen flooding like that since our area looked the same during hurricane Floyd. This time we had no property damage, just downed limbs but along the road I live on so many trees came down and took power lines with them. We were without power from noon saturday until wednesday evening. Now I hear another one is coming that is stronger that Irene was. Hope it leaves us alone. Take care Linda.

  4. At least you only had minor damage, those hurricanes are scary, we have had our fair share here too, i send you a bunch of lovely snowdrop mixed with pear blossom and protea, and dont worry about the cooking it will come back to you when you are ready, take care xx

  5. I cannot imagine having to fight so hard to defend one's home, but I salute you and your son for having succeeded. I hope things calm down so you and your community can begin to recover.

  6. Sending hugs. Hope things have settled down somewhat.

  7. May I make a suggestion? I think, maybe, you should do some cooking for others who are in desperate need.

    Maybe you already do some stuff like that; I don't know. But utilizing your marvelous skills for those who would most appreciate them, would probably do all of you a world of good. Just a thought, from someone who would really like to see you feeling happy.


  8. I have been off line and sorry that I am just catching up now. How scary! I am so glad that you are ok.

    I also changed my view of death not to "pity the dead . . .but to pity the living" (or something like that). The quote is from Harry Potter - it really made sense to me when I read it.

    The thing about the year of 1sts is that it is always followed by the year of 2nds. . .

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Take care of yourself. xoxo

  9. sometimes I think it's just too hard to do it on your own, and then you prove me wrong.

  10. I'm so sorry to hear about your home and town. I'm glad you're okay.

  11. Thinking of you and hoping that your town is recovering. Take care. Sending peace & hugs.

  12. I am thinking about you and hoping that your town is recovering from all the damage. Sending you good thoughts, peace and hugs. Take care.


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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