Many readers have reached out to find out how my family is recovering after Hurricane Harvey. This is an update I started a week ago, but hadn’t finished until today. We are still without essentials (which my kids think includes Wi-Fi) so posting is not always easy. To read the story of our evacuation from the Hurricane Harvey floodwaters, click here.

HURRICANE HARVEY RECOVERY


My family swam out of the flood waters unharmed and together… but that is where the challenges begin. No one ever expects to hear how difficult it is to keep your family together when a disaster befalls you. People come from every corner offering help; “Your dad can stay with me” or “I have one room you can use” or “Why don’t you send the kids to your mom’s while you figure this all out?” And with FEMA housing unavailable for an hours drive around Houston, those offers start to sound appealing.
The last thing I want to do is break apart. My 2 year old still wakes up in the night confused where we are. My 8-year old has cried every night since the flood- and he’s a tough kid. How can I be away from them? I would rather be exactly where we are.
And where are we? We are graciously staying in the living room of an empty rental. There is no furniture. I sleep on an air mattress, my husband on a mattress pad, my kids in sleeping bags, and we are lucky to have a cot and it is all in one room. We also have a few lawn chairs in the kitchen to eat from. The gas is off, but we have electricity and water.
That’s the part of the story that goes unshared. The aftermath of losing everything is starting from nothing to rebuild. And I know we will rebuild and regroup and renew our bond and our faith. But, in the moment, it is depressing and disheartening, and downright daunting.
We were without flood insurance. The home that we bought only 2 months ago had never flooded in its 47-year history. Most people in our neighborhood also lacked that coverage. FEMA is slow to process and offers very little from what I understand. The SBA (which grants disaster loans) has already denied us a low interest loan. Where does that leave a middle class family? I teach students with significant disabilities and my husband is a handyman. We don’t have a rainy day fund big enough to rebuild an entire house.

 

 

Despite all this, I know we will be okay. I know when I receive the outreach of friends, family, and strangers that we will be okay. For every person that has shown up, reached out, and offered of themselves, I am eternally grateful and increasingly optimistic.
When I see all our belongings out on the street, it is no longer shocking. It is normal. Some people look at it as though it is a constant reminder of the flood, but I don’t see that. Everything is a constant reminder. Eating off of plastic forks and knives, sleeping all in one room, being unable to sleep thinking of all the things I need to do- all of this is a constant reminder. Now all of that is just normal.
I have to keep reminding myself that my family is all together and safe- the waters didn’t wash that away! And that is the most important thing. Everything else is just stuff that can be replaced.
In the meantime, our temporary housing ends Friday (two weeks after the floods washed our reality away). We will hold hope that things will get better. We hope the thoughts and prayers of others will raise us up. We hope to keep taking one day at a time, and keep moving forward. We hope.

If you are looking for a way to give without going through GoFundMe, we welcome gifts through Amazon Wishlist. If you cannot give, champion our efforts by sharing our story with friends, coworkers, church groups or whomever you can that may be able to help.

Help support the Hurricane Harvey Recovery

I appreciate all of your continued support.


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