I lost my mom on March 14th of this year (it feels so weird to actually write that), and I have already posted here about this. Now, another different kind of grief and loss has happened to me and to my town...I live in Minot, ND where we are beginning to recover from a devastating flood caused by the river that runs through town. The flooding has pretty much destroyed at least a quarter of this city. More than 11,000 people have lost their homes and businesses as a result of this catastrophic flood...Many have lost everything, including their home. People have been evacuated from their homes for 3+ weeks now, and many, although not all, are just now being able to return to assess the damage to their houses, and what most are finding is just devastating...Of the 4000+ homes/structures affected by the flood, more than 3200 have been declared totally destroyed or extensively damaged. The grief that we are seeing here is just heartbreaking...People are being so strong and brave, but the feelings of grief and loss that these people are dealing with is very real. Many support agencies/organizations/companies are here to help folks recover from this and they are terrific, but it is just so awful to see what so many have lost. In time, I know Minot and its people will recover from this, but it is going to take a very very long time. My family and I have been very, very fortunate in this...We were not in the flood zone, but were right on the edge of it...The water came within 2 blocks of our home, but we have not had any water damage. About a month after my mom's death, my dad moved to another house across town from where he and mom lived, and I'm so glad because the house he and mom were in has been flooded...I cannot imagine what it would have been like to have to evacuate my dad and all his belongings right on the heels of him losing my mom. I don't know if we could have handled losing either our house and/or my dad's, right after my mom died.
So many that we know have been affected by this flood, and it's so hard to hear their stories and to see what is left of their homes. I have a terrible sense of "survivor's guilt" as a result of our not having lost anything...I'm torn between being so thankful that we weren't flooded out, and feeling guilty that we have been lucky when so many, many others haven't been.
What a year this has been...2011 will definitely go down as one of the worst years of my life, but as bad as it has been, it could have been so much worse if we had been flooded out, and I am so thankful for that bit of good fortune. Still, seeing what has happened to Minot and to so many that we know is no picnic, and those of us who have been fortunate enough to still have our homes are trying to do everything that we can to help those who have lost so much...In the end, that's about all we can do...Pray for them, and lend a hand and a sympathetic ear. Hopefully, 2012 will be a better, brighter year.