This will be my last installment of “flood: a view from the inside.” My next post, if all goes as planned, will be written from the outside. The kids and I will leave tomorrow morning with the intent of making it to a friend’s home in Minnesota a couple hours away. Having experienced the Grand Forks flood in 1997, this friend didn’t hesitate a moment a few days back to open her arms and offer her home as safe haven. I didn’t give her offer too much thought then, but today, as predictions of an even higher river crest and waters raging faster than the devastating ’97 flood, her words came back strongly, and suddenly, seemed more crucial than I could have imagined while still in the discernment phase.
Like so many here, I have been pushing aside my emotions, trying to use any extra energy to think clearly, stay alert, make prudent choices, try to help those in need when possible, and keep my kids calm. When a natural disaster is on the horizon, even moving through the everyday with your family can be trying. And really, the everyday is nonexistent when your very future is in question. But as a mother, most of those emotions must be quelled for the kids’ sake. I’m not advocating dishonesty, but if my kids knew what I really thought about this flood…if I really let loose my thoughts and emotions…it would be completely unfair. They would not know how to process it. I would put unnecessary fear into them. No, better to soften it a bit, like the father in the film, “It’s A Beautiful Life,” who, when sent to a concentration camp with his son, makes a game of the whole thing, tricking his son into thinking it’s all in good fun. It’s heart-wrenching to watch, knowing they are walking toward their death. But…the love of the father comes through very poignantly.
I’ve felt a little like that father over the past couple of days, trying to keep things light, being honest with the kids but revealing the truth at their level as best I can. But tonight, I am starting to lose it a bit. Not so much in front of the kids…but tonight it began to weigh heavily as I watched the television and saw homes being consumed by water; and listened to the county commissioners discussing plans, their voices breaking occasionally from emotion; and heard the hospital spokesman talk about a middle-of-the-night evacuation of patients. But the breaking point came when I learned of a friend whose home is already gone. My heart is aching for her, her husband and their four children. In her neighborhood, my father’s cousin and his family have a home. I have yet to hear the status, but I am nervous. In another nearby division, my son’s good friend has been evacuated. These are the few I know about so far, but I’m sure there are others. Many people in our school community live in the high-alert areas. I know that in the coming days I am going to hear of more devastation, and it is going to be extremely difficult. I also know that in time, there will be a huge outpouring of love; in fact, that’s already started. But not fully yet. We’re still in the middle of it, still holding our breath for those whose homes remain standing, including our own.
We are growing weary, and the river is expected to not only crest the highest in recorded history, but to stand at that high point for days — even as long as a week or more. That is about a week too long. I am truly concerned for what could result. But, unless I am prevented from leaving, I can no longer sit in my home and wait, watching from the inside. I am compelled now to bring my children out of harm’s way. But I know, even at a distance, a part of me will be here still, hoping and praying, this time from the outside.
Your thoughts and prayers have been so warm and wonderful. Thank you so very much.
I hope to be back soon…