Exactly one year ago today the worst hurricane in Florida history made landfall over our home in the Keys, hurricane Irma. We had no idea if we would have a home to return to or life to resume as we made a five hour drive "off the rock."
I've never experienced a hurricane, but it is forever etched in my mind. The mass exit of friends and family, the stress and anxiety over the safety of those who stayed and an aftermath of destruction like I've never seen.
Having fled to Naples to elude the eye of the storm, we were surprised when the hurricane turned and landed on us after first landfall in the lower keys. More than a week passed before residents were allowed to return home. Knowing we were returning to a desolate situation, we stocked up on water, gas, non-perishable food items, gloves, white vinegar, peroxide and a host of other items.
Everyday we got up and out into the community, helping friends and family rebuild, recover and reconnect. There were no "tabs" kept or "I owe you's" as we worked endless days and hours to get our homes, businesses and communities back in order.
We wanted to feel "normal" again, although we knew it would never resemble the normal we'd come to take for granted.
Months later, I found myself doodling with my son and began sketching the hurricane over Cudjoe Key where Irma made landfall. This became a healing project for me as I traced and colored like a nine-year-old, but it was very therapeutic helping me make sense of the literal upheaval in my mind. Upheaval I spent countless hours writing about in my many journals, which prompted me to use this sketch as a cover for journals and planners.
|After Hurricane Irma Hit||One Year After Hurricane Irma|
Emotions are still at the surface even after twelve months. I don't believe the healing process ever completely ends as the memories of what was once here linger in each of our hearts and minds.
Now, in the middle of hurricane season, anxiety is high as we watch storms form and head our direction, yet I feel oddly more calm, a blessing!
While our community continues to recover, we celebrate this day as one in which many lives were changed, new beginnings evolved and our bond with the islands became even stronger.
My hope is for you to find a peace while writing and planning your day. Remember, while there are storms in life, you are stronger than you think, capable of more than you know and worthy of the all of the wonderful things coming your way!
Peace and love from the Florida Keys,