Monday, September 17, 2018

NOW September 17, 2018

Whew! You probably heard about that little storm--Hurricane Florence--that hit the East Coast this week. If you're far away from it, be grateful. If you're anywhere near Florence, our hearts go out to you. (Meanwhile, the Twit-in-chief can only rant that the nearly 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria are a political ploy by Democrats to make him look bad. As if he needed their help!)

A good friend of ours moved back to the States with her family after Maria. Part of the reason was her school-age son. But partly she--like many others--had a difficult time with the devastation and slow recovery after the storm. After things settled down (I won't use the phrase "returned to normal"), they came back. But things here on the island still weren't the same. It still wasn't "normal." she and here husband decided to move back to the States permanently.

They settled in. They just bought a house, just--as in two weeks ago, in North Carolina, near (but not on) the coast. And Florence hit.

Florence was not as devastating as Maria. It wasn't as powerful to begin with and diminished as it approached the coast. Still, the wind was near 100 mph. And the rain! And rain and rain and rain. Our friends apparently didn't loose electric, or if they did it was only for a short time, because she was able to keep posting updates on Facebook.

You could tell from her posts, both in what she wrote and reading between the lines, how incredibly stressful this was for her.

Folks, PTSD is real! And it sucks! And it is not reserved for combat veterans or police. No one who goes through something like Maria comes out unchanged. I wrote about this a bit earlier: different things set off different reactions in people. For Elaine, it's anytime there is a constant, persistent banging noise. It takes her right back to that night, listening to the wind and the banging of that piece of roofing against the door of the house where we stayed. She zones out and it takes a little time for her to come back.

I can only imagine what living through that--again--was like for our friends.  And for people on the other islands: first they got hit by Hurricane Irma. Before they had time to process that, Maria hit less than two weeks later. How do you deal with that?

It is almost exactly one year later. We are still feeling and dealing with the effects of Hurricane Maria.

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