Sunday, September 8, 2013
I have a tendency to freak out about things that will probably never happen.
This goes beyond the usual irrational worries that we all have. My friends love to joke about my fear of rogue waves (that developed after watching a special on TLC) and every time I pass by all of the construction near my house, I wonder if we're about to be engulfed in another dust bowl (thanks to that documentary that was on last year). My stress dreams usually involve being surrounded by at least ten tornadoes and if there is any indication of rain, I stay clear of the mountains to avoid any chance of a flash flood.
My land-locked home is my haven. It has been my place of comfort since my husband died. Sure, I've been through some tornado warnings and yes, we've had some drought issues. But for the most part, I have been lulled into a sense of false comfort, thinking that if something bad was going to happen to my safety zone, it would have happened already.
I realized how foolish I had been as I was watching water stream into my closed basement window during a flash flood-type rain last week. The plaster bubbled underneath the frame and I helplessly watched my basement carpet disappear under water.
There wasn't a damn thing I could do about it.
It was so bad - so bad - that it was pointless to try and stop it. I watched as my window well completely filled with water and there was nothing I could do except let it run out into the basement. My neighbors and my parents rushed over with wet vacs, towels, and steam cleaners to suck up the water. We all ran around clearing furniture and trying to save the saveable. They all watched me carefully, positive that a nervous-breakdown was imminent.
But it never came.
There is something about events that are so bad, there is nothing you can do but watch them play out. I didn't feel helpless...I felt resigned. If it had been a small amount of water seeping in, I would have been panicked trying to keep it under control. But a flood - all I could do was stand back and watch.
That's not to say I wasn't upset. I was. Not in that moment, but the next day when I was so exhausted from the night before, I felt like I couldn't take another step. I couldn't wrap my head around all that needed to be done and it all seemed overwhelming. That's when that old widow feeling - "why am I here dealing with this alone?" - seeped in and I spent the day crying.
Not a painful sob. Just a constant stream. Much like I had witnessed the night before in my basement, I knew that I was powerless to stop it. My body didn't clench up in the fight to keep the tears at bay. I knew they needed to come. It's quite possible that they'd needed to come for a while for various reasons. It just took a storm to release them.
And so I had my own personal flash flood that day. I just let it go because I knew I needed to. And by the time I put the kids to bed that night, I was so exhausted there was no way I could keep my eyes open long enough to worry. The next day, I woke up so dry-eyed, no one would have ever guessed the necessary breakdown I'd had the day before. I made phone calls, appointments with contractors, and met with my insurance adjuster. And while I can never say that I'm grateful that my basement is underwater and my entire house smells like a mixture of wet dog and damp sponge, this whole thing was yet another reminder that we are never as in control as we think we are.
All we can do is take each moment one at a time.
Do the best we can to solve the problems that we face.
And weather the storm the best we can.