We all have a pictures of our ideal life, but what happens when the universe throws a monkey wrench in those plans? What do we do when we have major upsets and life doesn’t go as planned?
If you had asked me a year ago where I’d be; I would have confidently have said I’d be living on our family’s small farm, working as a vascular and wound care nurse at the surgical practice I loved, and very slowly continuing my Bachelor’s in Biology with hopes of continuing on to PA school. I had no plans to change the way my life was. I LOVED living on our family farm, right next door to my grandparents and aunt & uncle. My 3 children LOVED living on the farm, running freely back and forth to Granny & Papa’s, helping Uncle Bobby and Aunt Ann in the fields, and tending to our flock of chickens.
Life was great. Then in September 2018, that all changed. Hurricane Florence hit Eastern North Carolina, and sat over us for 3 days dumping an unimaginable amount of rain. We received a mandatory evacuation order from our local volunteer fire department…the river was rising, and major flooding was expected. We packed what we could into our cars, and tried to put things we couldn’t up on top of counters, beds, dressers, and tops of closets, in hopes that if it did flood those things up higher would be ok. Then left everything behind to go stay with family outside of the danger zone.
And it flooded. Worse than we could have ever prepared for.
The river rose so high, it surpassed the buoy that measures the depth of the river. They estimated around 29 ft….6ft higher than the flooding after hurricane Floyd in 1999. It would be over a week before the waters receded and we could survey the damage. It was so much worse than we could have ever imagined. Even though we had gone through this once before 19 years earlier…This was SO. MUCH. WORSE. Very few homes in our rural community were spared. The damage to our homes on the farm was so extensive that they could not be repaired. We lost EVERYTHING. All 3 of our homes will be demolished, and the fate of the farm is yet to be determined as we wait for flood maps to be redrawn. Thousands of families were displaced, and housing options in short supply. After 6 weeks of furiously searching, we finally were able to find a new house….2 hours away from the farm I’ve called home for the last 25 years, and nearly 2 hours away from family that we’ve been right next door to, or within a short drive.
So, here we are 6 months into our recovery. And it truly is a process of recovery. Losing and replacing objects is more of a frustration than anything. Stuff is just “stuff”, it can be replaced. It’s the mental recovery that is the hardest. I have battled through stress, anxiety, depression, and just being completely overwhelmed with grief. I have mourned the life we had and loved. I have mourned the loss of the place that drew our family together for every occasion we could think of. We’ve all had to get accustomed to living in a neighborhood in a more suburban area, and not having family close by when you need something, or just need some company.
Where do we go from here? What do you do when life doesn’t go as planned? You re-evaluate, and start to form a new plan. Figure out what your top priorities are, make short term goals, and give yourself time to adjust. You don’t have to do everything overnight. Will I go back to nursing full time? Continue my degree? I honestly don’t know, and it’s a bit scary. I like familiar, routine, organization, knowing exactly what to expect. So, basically EVERYTHING that life is NOT right now!!! For now, I concentrate on organizing my physical space to help calm my mental space. Finding a new routine, and beginning to form new plans. Join me as we explore this new path that life has lead us to, take back control of this life, and find our new direction. What are some things you do when the unexpected happens? How do you cope when you’re thrown outside of your comfort zone?