One year ago, almost to the hour, our family became homeless...
12:30 am August 4, 2013
The storm woke up our oldest boy, Andrew. He was already petrified of thunder and lightening at the young age of 7. This particular night was no different. Flashes of light brought him flying up the stairs and diving into our bed in between Mommy and Daddy. Phil and I stumbled out of bed to check on the downpour that we could hear pouring over the house. We peaked out the windows and realized our street was flooding into the yard, about halfway up from curb to the house. Creepy. But we still felt all was okay. Phil went downstairs to check on Gabe, then 5 yrs old, who shared a room with Andrew. He was sound asleep so we left him in their room that they shared in the basement. Phil found that our window well was filling up on the opposite end of the basement and was leaking, making the carpet sopping wet in that entire spare bedroom. We decided there was nothing that could be done so we went back to bed. Yes, we left Gabe down there for an hour longer... I remember falling back asleep for what felt like a brief moment.
I lazily woke to what I thought was a kid crying, or yelling; I couldn't tell which. I was too tired from dealing with a shaking child laying next to me, so I woke up Phil to go check who it was.
He followed Gabe into our room a few minutes later and said something to the extent of, "water is coming in through the boy's egress window. There's nothing we can do. We'll have to deal with it in the morning." (Insert husband's state of shock here)
I will never forget his face when he walked back into our bedroom. I was laying there, now awake wondering what child he was taking care of. He said, "the window busted open and water is pouring in."
Later I found out what really happened. Phil had found the yelling boy... it was Gabe. He got up because the storm scared him and when he put his feet from his bed to the floor, he was standing in an inch of water. Phil grabbed his pillow and teddy bear and headed for the stairs. They made it halfway up the staircase when Phil heard a clickSPLOOSH! Just like that. That fast the boys' window came unlocked by the pressure of water that had filled their entire egress window.
Phil literally had gone down 30 seconds before the window busted open and water poured in.
We (Phil, myself, Andrew and Gabe) ran to the stairs and looked down. Water was swirling at the bottom, and rising fast. Pretty soon we saw our possessions floating by. My heart sank into despair. I cried. I panicked. I didn't know which way to turn. I kept thinking to myself, "trust God" and yet I wanted to yell, "WHERE ARE YOU? HELP US!" The water rose higher and with its swirling power took along our basement living room furniture. I literally saw the couch float by. Phil and I sent the kids to the main floor living room couch, or our bed... I don't remember which... while we stood at the top of the stairs just staring at the rising water. We looked outside and the flood water that had stood in the drainage ditch on the side of our house had rose and was now POURING into our home. We went back to staring at the basement disappearing before our very eyes beneath the muddy waters and saw the boys' bookcase with all of their books go floating by. That is when it hit me.
(I know, really? THAT was the moment was when it finally hit me that a devastation was taking place?)
Yes, that is when I truly felt alone. My kids and husband were there. But I felt alone. The rain had stopped or slowed way down. Everything was eerily quiet. The house creaked in the silence. We heard floating furniture bumping into walls and other things.
The boys sleep in their undies so I told them we would just have to get dressed in the morning and try to make sense of it all.
Then it hit me... again.
ALL of their clothes were in the basement.
So now at this point I'm realizing we can't live in this house. We are homeless.
Our oldest children have no clothes. We are naked.
The boys beds are gone. Ruined. We have no place to lay our heads.
At one point I called 911 to say our house is flooding and we don't know what to do.
They said stay where we were. No one can come get you. The roads are too flooded. There is nothing they can do. We are alone.
I felt so very abandoned. I could never have imagined being on the Titanic the night it sank. Until now. I looked out every window... rain, flood. I looked up at the sky... rain, flooding. I looked at our home... filled half way up the basement with mud and water. I was afraid. I knew I shouldn't be. But I was. I was scared to even pray, because I thought this situation was just too impossible for God. It was hopeless.
That night, in the wee hours of the morning, when the rain had almost stopped and sleep started to come over us... I lay at one end of the couch, watching out the window, shaking my head in disbelief. I had no words of comfort for my Gabe, who was sitting, watching me with concern. In the stillness of that moment he looked at me with compassion and said, "It's okay Mom. God is bigger than the water."
It rocked me to my core.
Stay tuned for the rest of the story...