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Natural Disaster

Life Story Club Contributor

July 8, 2020

The flash flood of summer 2010 changed my life. I will never forget the night that the storm hit. I was in a therapy session with my ex-husband at the time, and we had no idea how bad it was going to get. After we were done with our session, we walked to our cars and made our way home.

Sadly, my car got stuck in the water because the water was rising and very quickly, but he was right behind me and we ended up just leaving our car at a nearby restaurant’s parking lot. We made our way to our home. And sadly, we were not able to park by our house because the water was so high. We parked about two blocks away.

As we made our way to our home walking, the water came all the way up to our waist area, which was, you know, something like I’ve never seen before, it was like a river that was flowing down our street. And so, that experience was life-changing to me because there was a lot of damage. Many people lost their homes. I mean, luckily we didn’t, but we lost everything that we had in our basement, appliances, water heaters, everything that we stored, pictures and whatnot.

That was a huge lesson for me. I never been a materialistic person, but the fact that we lost thousands and thousands of dollars of things that we own from, like holiday decorations to pictures and what have you, just made me realize the obvious, that material stuff is just stuff.

I remember, we, every year, would put up our Christmas decorations. And so after the flood and losing everything, I just really did not have the desire to buy more stuff. But instead, I was gifted a Charlie Brown Christmas tree by my aunt, and which, you know, I’ll just show you. And this is what I would put up instead. And it just brought so much joy, something so simple, a beautiful gesture. I knew that I did not have to go and just spend a lot of money and buying and accumulating more things.

Another huge takeaway for me was that community is everything. We as neighbors helped each other out, helped clean our basements, our homes, and it was just, like, such a beautiful thing. In the past, like, prior to that experience, we didn’t really interact so much with our neighbors. So that’s not like we had anything against them, it’s just, you know, you’re always on the go. And so, I never had the opportunity to do so. But we definitely became really good friends after that experience.

This was in Milwaukee. It was, again, life-changing. Ever since then, I’ve been really careful and very intentional about the things that I acquire, like, purchase. And of course, now with COVID, it just takes that whole feeling and idea to a whole nother level. I’m like, “I really just don’t need anything. I have everything I need, no more stuff please.

I’m actually thinking about getting rid of a lot of my stuff, so… And it feels so great, it feels so liberating. I mean, yes, of course, I was sad about losing my pictures, but I think that those memories will always live with me.

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