It was the longest 48 hours of my life. From the time we felt the first winds to the time it finally calmed down…2 days. I haven’t been that scared in a long time. At one point, I was POSITIVE the roof of our house was coming off. I could hear metal scraping on metal and the distinct sound of the rafters’ wood popping. I had a plan. If it felt like we would lose the roof, my 2 kids and I would head to our master bedroom closet in front of our big ol’ safe and throw a blanket over us. It never came to that, but for a moment, I thought we’d have to. I watched as our vinyl fence waved and never returned to standing upright, and one section completed blew apart. I just kept praying for God to keep us safe and keep Matthew off-shore. The eye came within something like 10 miles of us. I can’t imagine what it would be like if the eye actually came on land.
My oldest headed out to way inland Georgia the morning we got hit, so I knew he was safe. My stepson went to his girlfriend’s apartment, and we didn’t see him for 3 days. My daughter went to be with my sister and her kids, and she probably should have stayed with me since my sister had way more damage. My youngest two kids were with me (ages 12 and 5). My husband had to work. He reported in at midnight the night before it hit, and I didn’t see him for about 36 hours. He had to sleep in the hallway at the police department, and then he got to come home for 5 hours before turning around and going back in for 14 more hours. Finally, he was able to come home and get lots of sleep before getting up and helping his dad get some trees cleaned up at his house and borrow our generator. I’m pretty sure he could sleep for the next week and still not catch up.
As for me, I learned that I can weather a massive storm on my own. I handled the clean up we had, the power outage for a couple of days with 2 young kids, and tackling jobs I never seemed to find the time for…like cleaning out my closet, rearranging shelves in our living room, and pulling weeds/grass out of my front flower bed. However, the storm triggered my own anxiety and brought up some stuff that messed with my head too. I’m ok admitting I was terrified and cried after the kids were asleep, and I’m ok with missing my husband like crazy and praying he would be safe through it all, but I’m not ok with feeling like I went backwards a few steps into a sucky place of anxiety and nightmares. I’m hoping that with the storm over, everyone back to work and school, and a routine restored that I will be able to sleep and get things back under control. It’s crazy what a stupid hurricane can do to a person.
All in all, my sister had a massive tree through her roof and tons of limbs all over her yard, my parents lost a few shingles and the fence around their house, and we lost our fence.
I’d say we are very VERY lucky people. God definitely had his hand upon all of us. As the cleanup continues, I’m keeping my ears open for where and when Team Rubicon will be deploying teams. I’m hoping this is one operation I can participate in and be close to home helping my own neighbors. If you are interested in helping/donating/volunteering, Team Rubicon is a Veteran founded organization definitely worthy of your time and/or gifts.