It’s been almost 4 weeks since hell rained down on Tuscaloosa, and for 4 weeks, I’ve been stuck. It’s impossible to forget the things I saw in the first few days or the people’s faces I’ve seen in the past 4 weeks. I’ll never forget the sounds and smells. Or the devastation. Or how incredibly LARGE the damage path extends. A bomb went off and destroyed 8 miles of a town that’s maybe 12 square miles big. That destruction just doesn’t go away.
But I need to keep on living. Or I’m no good to anybody. I can’t continue with disaster efforts and helping and rebuilding if I don’t have the strength because I’ve scrapped workouts and not eating my best. Gluing myself to watching the first few days of coverage (I never saw it as it happened..no power and nonstop disaster relief) and watching videos over and over are not helping me at all. Jumping on the treadmill, lifting weights, and cooking real food WILL help me physically which will help my mind and emotions. Something’s gotta give soon or I’m going to burnout.
This past weekend, I started going through the motions of the things I used to love to do. At first, I was all over the map emotionally. I wasn’t at the church helping and I could have been. We had a LOT of out of town relief workers and when I drove up to the church, I got out, saw the demolition crew tearing down and seperating what is left, saw the people coming for food, and heard the familiar voices of people happy to help and people happy to GET help. And I couldn’t be happy. All I could do was tear up again. I told Stephen I wanted to go home and he didn’t waste any time. He needed a break from it all, too.
When I got home, I made myself do things that used to be routine and normal and comforting.
Yes, that is my Christmas cup from Starbucks. I still had it in the cabinet and wanted to drink out of it. Memories of a happy holiday time slammed into me.
I dug out the pretty plates that have sat neglected for a while. These are from Colorado and I even got a little excited about going back in 2 weeks.
I took the time to notice flowers growing in the garden and flowers from Stephen that appears in the kitchen when he knows I need some cheering up.
I paid attention to cooking and eating instead of just going on auto pilot. I gradually got back into the groove of working in my beloved kitchen and using the camera. Eating with my eyes first. The TV tuned to Food Network instead of nonstop disaster coverage or the world is ending news channel.
And I called my grandmother. I have not talked to her since the storms. I had a hard enough time holding it together for the many phone calls with Mom. I knew she was relaying information to Grandma, but I needed to hear her voice.
A few hours away made a lot of difference. I saw the world continue to turn even though the 6pm prediction of the end came and went. By the way…at 6pm, I was enjoying the smell of the grill and the feel of vegetables under my knife. I was truly happy at that moment. The world didn’t end, but maybe my world got a little jump start to revolving again.