Black Water

2018 was the year of cruel ironies.

After 22 years of living in fear of each hurricane season, we retired and moved 5 hours north and 60 miles inland. To get away from hurricanes and yearly evacuations. And one week after we moved, we were wiped out by Hurricane Florence.  One week, people.

We had spent most of early 2018 cleaning out every closet and drawer, separating years of clutter from what was important enough to pack and take with us to our new home.  Paid movers $10K to move those treasures. And before the photos, memories and belongings were even unpacked, they were taken away in a flood of dirty ‘black” water.

The perfect new home that we had searched up and down the east coast for, with its beautiful kitchen, an art studio for me, a yard big enough for the dogs, and Mike’s boat in the canal.  To save it from black mold, we had to gut it down to the studs.

Even now as I type this – four months after the storm – we are still living in that gutted home.  No walls.  No bathrooms.  No kitchen. A plywood floor. No end in sight.  Because we weren’t the only ones this happened to, far from it.  It’s everywhere. It happened to everyone.

Losing everything is just the beginning of the nightmare. Every day is a struggle.  You wake and start the fight again. Mortgage companies, insurers, governmental red tape. Hours on the phone. I swear I will hear that “on hold” music when I die and go to hell.  Wait.  Maybe I already did and don’t know it.

Sometimes, you may get a glimmer of hope.  A contractor who can fix this mess. Someone at the mortgage company who listens.  You think you can move forward. And then, it falls apart.  Again.  You cry for a day, then start the fight again.  Because you have no choice.  This is your life now.

Black water.  The painful, never-ending crawl through the aftermath of a disaster.


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