The last three months I have been numb. I haven’t allowed myself to feel anything. Happiness, sadness, elation, disappointment… They come and go, but I don’t let myself hold onto anything for too long, otherwise I’d go insane. But now, as the time is coming up for us to go back home, I’m feeling it. Feeling it all, and it’s hitting me again like it’s that day when we found our home in ruins.
I’ve read and re-read my posts about the flood countless times. I almost know it by heart. In the beginning, I’d read it every day, now maybe once a week or so. I think maybe it’s to check and see if I’ll fall apart. And so far I haven’t. I remember asking Marty a while ago why it hadn’t hit me, and when he thought it might. I thought maybe it never would.
But tonight I re-read my posts again, and I cried. I can’t stop shaking. I remember it now. It’s not just a story that I’ve been telling. I’ve actually been there, and now I’m remembering it. All these feelings that I’ve been holding onto for months are coming to the surface, and I don’t know why.
I feel stupid. Stupid because of the things I left behind. Why didn’t we come back for one more load of stuff? Why did I leave my camera lenses and graphics tablet in a baby bath thinking they’d be safe because it would float? They would have taken no room in the car, why didn’t I take them? Why didn’t I realise that for there to be one foot of water through the house, there would have to have been six foot of water on the road and we wouldn’t be able to go back? My office was the last room we packed before we evacuated, and we didn’t have much room or energy left. Why, when he asked me if I wanted to take any of my scrapping supplies, did I throw my hands up in the air and say “don’t worry, it’s all replaceable”. Why did I think I’d be able to justify replacing those things when they are so un-necessary but important to me?
I feel angry. Angry at myself because I forgot that I moved a lot of photo albums into the closet when I was nesting only six weeks before. I thought Marty had said they’d all been saved, so I hadn’t checked them. Then the other day I went to go through them and discovered that while some had been, a lot of my photos were still sitting in albums, covered in water and are ruined. And rushing to find the negatives, I found the same with them. Ruined, all of them. Big soggy messes of bleeding colours, maybe with a few faces poking out from the blur.
I can’t replace those.
Especially the ones of my brother who has passed away. I’d specially chosen those ones from my Mum’s collection because they were the few that had me and him together. There’s going to be a whole section of my life that’s missing. I won’t be able to show my kids what I looked like between the ages of two and twenty. I won’t be able to show them their uncle who they will never meet. I won’t have that funny photo of me playing the piano in the nude at four. I won’t have the photo of me and my sister in our tutus. I won’t have those photos of my fourth birthday party with all my Barbies lined up on the table. I won’t have those photos. And it makes me angry.
I’m angry that there are so many missing pieces. Pieces of me that I can’t get back.
And then I think back to the early days when we were so desperate. I remember my friend Eleana coming over with a car load of groceries, and me standing there, on the street, doing my “shopping”, and feeling that I had hit my lowest ebb. My friend Emma bought us a whole heap of groceries too, and clothes for the kids, and I was so grateful. But at the same time, I was so ashamed. I remember crying the first time we went to the grocery store after it happened because we had nowhere to buy for. We didn’t have a home anymore. It all seemed pointless. I remember Marty wanting to buy a razor, but refusing because we couldn’t afford it now.
I remember thinking, this isn’t what I had imagined our life to become. We’d worked hard to be able to afford things. Now we were worried that we couldn’t even afford to buy a bloody razor. It was soul destroying. It was embarrassing. I hated that our pride had been taken away from us.
And then I remember that phone call. This wonderful opportunity, this LIFELINE that we’ve been given. And I feel stupid all over again for feeling all this stuff now, especially now that it’s all going to be okay.
I’m excited to go home. I can’t wait to see it… Marty said it will blow me away when I see the magic they have worked on our home.
BUT. I’m so scared. Of it happening again. Of being alone. Of starting again. Of moving on.
I’m scared of having no control again. Of not being able to protect my family from the horrors of a disaster like this. Again.
Josh was excited to be going home, but as it draws nearer he’s been really distressed. We should never have taken him to the house when it was all stripped bare. I should have realised that would scare him. Every day this week, he’s screamed for close to an hour when I tell him we’re going home. He wouldn’t tell me why. Then tonight I got it out of him.
He’s scared of the “broken house” as he now calls it. It will have monsters. It’s scary there.
I feel bad that our little boy has had his safe place taken away from him. I can only hope that when he sees it all, new and beautiful, that he will be happy to be there again. That he will love his new room, that he will be proud to show it off to all and sundry again. I just hope he feels safe again there one day, and that his little head isn’t filled with nightmares about the scary, broken house with all the stinky mud.
Ahhh… that’s better, just needed to get it all out of my head or I could kiss any chance of sleep goodbye for tonight.
ON A BRIGHTER NOTE!! It’s only a week… yes a WEEK til we get to go home!! Yippee!! I tell you, those boys don’t muck around! I haven’t been allowed back there for a couple of weeks now, so I can have a big surprise. Last I saw, all the plasterboard was hung, and I tell you… that in itself was amazing! To see walls again… It was starting to look like home.
Marty got busted there the other day having a sneak peek, and he said it’s beyond our wildest dreams. It’s like we’ve always dreamed our home to be, but would never have been able to do ourselves. I truly can’t wait. I think that’s why I’m struggling this week with it all. It’s like the last week of being pregnant. You’re sick of it all, you just want it all to be over with, and time just doesn’t want to move.
The next instalment will be grand, I promise!