Tonight I took one last long look at the pond in our backyard, soaking up the sight of the calm before the storm. In my 30 years living near the coast of Myrtle Beach, I have never evacuated for an impending hurricane. But this one is different. She isn't your typical storm. Everytime they think they've pinpointed her path, meteorologists are left scratching their heads as she starts to trend another direction. Florence is full of uncertainty, leaving us confused and scared for what may come.
I spent the day going through the first floor of my home, removing every picture from the walls, every precious drawing from my refrigerator, every piece of a memory I never want to forget. My wedding album, maternity photos, newborn photos, candid shots of our first Christmas as a family of 4, all sit in Tupperware bins in the lonely upstairs hallway. I packed my children's coming home outfits in air tight bags and stored them on the highest shelf in the closet in the hopes that I could preserve them for my grandchildren to someday wear home.
In my suitcase is the diamond ring my husband surprised me with the night before my wedding, and the heart shaped locket he gave me for my first Mother's Day. Things that cannot be replaced. Things that I would be crushed to lose. They are headed with me to Pittsburgh where we will ride out the storm with my husband's extended family.
I'm leaving my own family behind. They never evacuate in the event of a hurricane. I'm scared of the damage their homes could sustain. I'm scared of the possibility of flood waters trapping them inside their homes after the roads wash out. I'm scared that I won't be able to contact them for days. I am a natural worrier. I will need assurance that they are okay. The not knowing is what is going to kill me.
I am fearful for my own home. My late grandmother's antique china hutch can't be replaced with an insurance check and a trip to Rooms to Go. The glider in my room where I spent many late nights rocking my babies to sleep cannot be found again on an end cap at Target. These things are so much more than just material possessions. They have a much bigger part in the story of my life. I don't want to let them go. All I can do now is pray, and prepare for the worst. I have to believe that everything will be okay.
When you lay your head down tonight, please say a prayer for all effected by this storm. Ask for protection for those who are choosing to stay behind. Pray that those leaving have homes to return to. Pray for our first responders who will be away from their own homes and families in order to ensure others are safe. Pray for those who will be working hard to get us back to a sense of normalcy when this is all done. Pray that we band together during this time, and show love and compassion for our neighbor.
I love my beautiful Carolina coast, and I need it to be there in all of its glory when I return. I'll see you soon, Myrtle Beach. "While I breathe, I hope".