This coming Saturday, 29 August, it will be 10 years since Hurricane Katrina arrived and sent our lives in to turmoil and fear. You might find it strange to "fear" since we were safely in our dear friends home in Houston. But the fear wasn't for us ... not only were we safe, but we had friends and family calling from South Africa and around the world to offer help and comfort. When we got to Houston, my friends kindly let me phone my sister in South Africa and she alerted people we were safe and gave the number to a special few.
What we feared was what happened to friends we couldn't find for a few days. Fear while watching the drowned Gulf Coast and thinking where are they? Our phones weren't working well but our text messages got through. I must put a plug in here for Virgin Mobile USA... a day or so after the storm hit, we got a text saying something like, "You are probably going to need more than usual, so here is an extra bunch of minutes free for a month. Be safe." not all carriers were that friendly or helpful.
Finally - locating some took weeks and weeks - but we all found each other again. I remember one day I got a text from friends we thought for sure were lost, I started screaming "they're alive, they're alive" to no one in particular. The day I was in the Museum of Art and got another text saying "I'm okay" and burst in to tears.
The houses and stuff/possessions lost weren't top of my list, it was the lives that mattered. And then just as we were getting our breath and starting to think straight, along came Hurricane Rita. But that is another story.
I am interacting more with friends from our time in New Orleans this week since we're sharing our individual Katrina therapeutic art and memories. But I am finding it hard to cope with the constant reports about Katrina on the media. Some reports have me in tears, so I often just turn the radio off. But still, the memories are crowding out just about everything else at the moment.
We've moved often in our lives, singly and as a couple. Some one asked me how many times, and I lost count while trying to work it out! But I have always moved on my own terms, when I want to and why I want to. I loved living in New Orleans. I fit in there so well.
Yes, it is a self-absorbed place where they believe they are the best of everything in the world. Who cares if they are or not? So what? You don't always agree, you just need to go with the flow and live it. We did. We made life long friends and enjoyed it all.
And we weren't ready to leave.
So, that is the reason why even 10 years after the traumatic event, I still in a funny way grieve for it. Have I moved on? Yes. I don't dwell on it. It often pops in to my head but I'm not obsessed with it.
But it feels like unfinished business in a way. I knew we would leave New Orleans one day. It's a given. We move on.
But not that way. It is not an experience I would wish on my worst enemy.