It’s not easy being a victim of flooding. Being a volunteer is easier. For years my husband and I went to Mississippi to help with Hurricane Katrina. We would talk to those that experienced the flooding and being misplaced from homes and love ones. To hear about being trapped in homes with water rising and hoping someone would come and rescue them. You can watch the news channels and listen to their stories being told. But nothing can prepare you for the heartbreak that they endure. At times, I felt lost as what to say. “I’m sorry” was not the correct response. Each time we would return and hear more stories about flood victims restoring their home. One day, when my husband compared the destruction from Katrina to Vietnam, he said he felt that Katrina was worse. Each year we watch and see different parts of the U.S. being torn by floods, fire, etc. and yet, it still does not prepare you. Your heart breaks and you want to help.
Several years ago when the opportunity came to be a PW/PDA trainer, I know that was a calling, another part of being a volunteer. To help prepare those before something would happen. As I spread the word and would put questions in people’s heads, I felt that even if one person listened then I had done my job as a trainer.
Last year I became a victim during Hurricane Matthew. Yes, I was prepared, I thought. We had flood and home owners insurance, we safely evacuated with our family and pets. We called ourselves the “traveling zoo”! There were five adults, two teenagers, five cats and one dog. We had stops to feed the “humans”! We returned home once we knew that everything was safe and still standing (including having water and electric). We were sure that the roads were clear of power lines and water. As soon as I walked in our house I knew that we had experienced flooding in the house. Nothing could have been done to stop the water. This was a different experience for me. You think that this will never happen to you. But it can and no matter how much you think you’re prepared for something, it can be taken out of your hands. Yes, we were safe with our family and pets. And all that “stuff’ in our house can replaced, but not our family.
As we started our clean up and connecting with insurance companies to put our lives and house back in order, a new adventure began – a PW/PDA trainer seeing the other side – as a home owner who has insurance, thank goodness. If we hadn’t, who knows what we would have done. Cleared out the damaged floors and rooms and moved on as we could. What happened next is something that no one needs to experience.
My husband had started the all the paperwork for the house and calling for quotes and bids to replace what was damaged. I went to our Synod Gathering at Epworth by the Sea, as a workshop trainer a few weeks after Matthew hit. We didn’t know if we were going to have the gathering, but thank goodness the retreat center had tree damage and a few other mishaps but we were able to hold our event. Returning from our PW event and moving forward on the house my husband passed away.
It took a lot of strength and support from not only my family, my church and my PW sisters in Christ to move forward. To go from being a volunteer, a trainer and then a victim of flooding, you think you’re prepared, but you’re not. Yes, I’m still putting the pieces back together in my life. My life will never be the same and neither will those that are victims of human or natural disasters. Pray and support when you can.
HOPE is the answer. Hear Our Prayers Everywhere
Molly McCarthy, Savannah PW Moderator, PW/PDA Trainer