Today, after dealing with days of Harvey and surviving, then driving the dirt laden freeways down to the George R. Brown Convention Center to see what needed to be done, and then traveling side streets to the grocery store that is just yards away from the bayou that is no longer a threat and within its banks, I sat in my van and wept.
I wept for my elation for being safe. Though there are still those in other parts of Houston, who are being rescued. I wept for seeing all I saw today and how so many people were helping so many other people. I wept in gratitude; I wept from what might be exhaustion. I wept because I survived and that I lost nothing and so many others have and will. I wept because I’m taking my wine and my shrimp home and sitting in my house and eating and drinking that tonight. I wept because I will bring bags of freezer items home that I will place them in my freezer after I take out the many blocks of ice I made before the storm. I wept as I remembered the dazed look on the women still in her pj’s who just got to the GRB and kept saying, “My ceiling caved in, my ceiling caved in, it is all gone.” as her very mature ten-year-old son held her one 1/2-year-old. I directed her to the blankets and clothing, took her name in case I can find a place for her to go. Maybe I wept for her.
Is this survivors remorse? I don’t think it is technically survivors remorse, as that definition means I feel guilty for being alive. I don’t feel guilty for being alive; My heart is overflowing with gratitude.
I feel like I’m in a fog, kind of like I did when my mom died, and I would look at people differently. I would look at someone and think, you could have died, we could have died. You have your home; you are in a grocery store buying food from shelves, and not waiting in life at a rescue center. These are such opposites my brain can’t adjust; it can’t take it all in. I’m watching strangers greet each other with things like, “Is your home livable?” and “Did you lose everything?” There is not one person in this city who has not either lost their home or had a close friend or family member who has lost their home. Most will recover, some homes are a total loss. Most people are smiling- if they are not still in shock.
“Is your home livable?”
Our city and individuals are wounded. We are all in a daze and shock, and it is not over. I can’t believe I came home to turn on the news and hear about missiles and to learn we are now waiting for a chemical plant to blow up in Crosby, Texas. Yes, it will blow up, it is just a matter of time, and they have no idea what that will do to our air quality. I can’t comprehend this. Maybe I will have to leave my home. I may have survived the rain, winds, and flood, but not a chemical explosion with compromised air. Survival continues, don’t let your guard down yet. Maybe I’ll save the wine and celebrate another night.