MJ Edmunds

30DW Day 2 – April 2 The healing

Read Day One here #30DWC – April 1 – The Deluge (Part 1)

From when the evacuation centre opened late morning on Thursday until 4 am Friday it received 120 residents. They included rough sleepers, visitors to town and many old timers who had lived in the town through many floods and had now lost everything.
My husband had one hour of sleep and with his colleagues processed people all through the night.
At home we braced myself for the cyclonic winds. Our only incident was a temporary waterfall though the garage and a six-hour loss of power mostly overnight. The wind was not as bad as expected.
But the floods just down the hill were terrible and came quickly. Some people made poor choices refusing or declining to leave.
My brother who has seen many floods never saw one come in so quickly. He knew enough to evacuate beforehand. But he was still shocked. The depth stabilised 4 inches below his floorboards. All of the things he had lifted to a height that cleared every other flood were lost. His young neigbours were inundated so the children and mother were avacuated and the man moved across to my brother’s home.
After two nights at the centre, and 5 broken hours of sleep on Saturday, my husband and his team were relieved of their duties and helicoptered out. I drove to the airport and watched out for a red helicopter. I was happy to see his tall figure on the apron.
I drove him and his colleagues to their office to collect their car keys. At home, he slept as if jet lagged. I woke him at dinner time.

The idea for today, Sunday, was to rest as he will back at work tomorrow and stationed lord knows where. Normally on a Sunday, we would play tennis and work on our creative projects. Not this week. We wanted to be useful.
We went to the hardware store and bought gloves and extra brooms and boots, me wellies and him steel-capped boots. We needed new ones. He also wanted to see someone, an old woman who had never lost her Bradford, UK, accent. He had met her at the shelter an d then she had been put up at a motel with two little dogs who were very quiet and who people were walking for her. Her budgies were living with 2 sets of neighbours. The woman felt a bit low today she said. Her son was 2 days off arriving and she had lost many of the affects of her home. We read her insurance documents and she was covered.
Her home was a bungalow in a very well kept garden, obviously the result of much work. Four people were outside. They had been working in the house and created a huge pile of ruined items on the kerb. Her house was high up but beside a narrow gully that filled up. It was tucked away like many places. People have no idea of the extent.
The woman has a lifetime collection of dolphins. She loves them. The people who had worked in her home had lovingly put the dolphins they found all together. They had searched in the water -ravaged bedroom for a dolphin necklace and found two pieces.
They said they needed to go to find something to eat. It was already past 3.30. I was glad to give them sandwiches and hot cross buns and water.
We drove through streets with pile after pile of rubbish piled up out front, with cars overturned where they have no business being. One of the main roads had been swept away but the council had worked tirelessly and created a one-lane dirt bridge. My accountant was flooded, a bookshop, its name Pulp Fiction being sadly true, a smash repair run by an indomitable Swiss woman, a mosaic gallery run by the wife of a client of mine, the auto-tuner I have taken my car too. My favourite dress shop in town was flooded, the camp store where I buy practical stuff. It goes on. The rough sleepers spots wiped out. A motel completely destroyed. People’s homes, their classic cars lovingly tended over years.

On the way home, we called to see my brother and talked to his neighbour who told us her story. People have an overwhelming need to talk through what happened, more than you might want to hear but it helps them. A pump was noisy behind us, a man had lent her his pump to clear the sludgy water from the pool.
We found my brother at the pub that two days before had been several feet underwater. It was cash only and a limited range but it was a much-needed place of healing. The beer was sweet.

Read Day One here #30DWC – April 1 – The Deluge (Part 1)

30DW Day 2
*This piece is written as the part of two writing challenges I have signed up for in April. My aims write personal memoir pieces, fiction, and an e-book and content for my business. *