I know that we often hear the phrase, “On this day, my life changed forever.”
It sounds cliché’ and somewhat hollow from the outside looking in. I know. I’ve read that statement before and have not been very moved.
But when it’s your life and it’s your day…….the story is different.
On August 13, 2016, my life was forever changed.
It was a Saturday. My husband got up early but I slept until around 8:15. At some point during the early morning hours, my phone had buzzed with a flood warning. I read it with sleepy eyes, heard the rain, and rolled over.
Around 8:30, I took the following pictures. In the eight years that we have lived in this house, we had never seen water come under our fence. Little did we know that behind the fence, on a street that was slightly lower, it was already looking alarming. I even captioned the pictures “No swinging today.”
Still not stressed.
Within 30 minutes the water had covered my carport area and was quickly rising on our “little house” out back.
At 9:30, the water started rushing up the drive. I sent this video to my dad.
He immediately noticed the direction that the water was FLOWING and quickly replied that it was going to get worse and we needed to move cars. I woke my teenager and gave him a brief “getting a lot of water” run down and he and my husband moved the cars to the street. At this point, you could still see grass on the side of the street. Cars were safe.
I’m starting to get a little antsy now and I find our outside kitty and put her in our classroom. Our classroom is a little lower than the rest of the house. Because we have inside cats, it is the one place that she will stay without fussing. At the same time, I’m using my best calm voice to tell the girls to get two suits of clothes and put them on my bed. I told them that we were going to see Grandpa for a day or two.
10:00 am – We realize that the water is coming quickly. The green grass that we saw beside our vehicles is gone. My husband wants me to take the kids and go so that he can stay behind and try to save some of our things. I have a little meltdown. He decides that he will go with us.
Haigan totes his guitar overhead to his jeep.
I go into the classroom to get our kitty. The floor is floating and she is in the windowsill.
The house is flooding! As crazy as it may be, this is the first moment that I thought it would really flood! Where did I think the water was going to go? I do not know.
The girls come down the hallway with about 30 stuffed animals each. I tell them that they can take two…and to hurry. I advise them to put the others on their beds where “they’ll be safe.”
As a collective family effort, we put six out of seven of our cats upstairs with food, a litter box, and some water. Cry-baby, our outside wanderer, could not be found. There was no time to worry over that. I was rushing to fill up the water container and didn’t get it completely full. My son tells me it’s not enough. I rush him to put it upstairs anyway. That decision will haunt me for the next three days.
10:20 – We get to the front door. Everyone grabs whatever shoes they can find. My husband and son lift the girls onto their shoulders and wade through waist deep water in the front yard to get them to the vehicles.
I follow and I’m just in shock. Our shoes from our back deck are floating down the drive. Ant beds float past in huge clusters. Roaches and spiders have nowhere to go and are frantically climbing up anything dry.
It’s like a movie except the water is soaking my shorts this time. The things that are floating away belong to me.
We take 2 out of 3 vehicles because I am too afraid to drive. We let the window down to tell our neighbor that we are leaving but we don’t know exactly what we should do. She just stands frozen holding her hands on her head. Later I found out that her husband had gone to try to get sandbags. She, being at home, knew it was much too late for that.
We reach the four way stop at the end of our street and realize that the bridge to the back of the neighborhood is covered. The people who are still there have no way out. The family that wants to get to them has no way in.
My son and I stop to get gas. My oldest son calls to tell me not to get on the interstate. It is about to be closed. The river has flooded it and we will be stuck. He arrives to the gas station and takes my husband back to get our third vehicle. The water is rising faster and faster. Here is a picture they snapped as they were leaving. Little did we know, the worst was yet to come.
We go to my son’s house, only 25 minutes and a whole world away. It was amazing to see that life was moving at a normal pace just a few miles from the rising river.
We stop at ChickfilA to get lunch. We go to WalMart so that I can get some groceries to cook food. It’s like a little family reunion. Never in my mind did I believe that we wouldn’t be returning home soon.
We stay glued to the television, hoping to get a glimpse of our neighborhood.
The girls fall asleep, excited for new pajamas and a sleepover at Bubba’s.
My husband and I are in the next room staring at the ceiling……the hugeness of this situation heavy on our hearts.
To be continued…..