I Lost More Than Just “Stuff” In the Flood

The Flood

What I lost in the flood was much greater than I initially thought. I​n 2017 we experienced a flood. It obliterated our meticulously finished basement. There was six feet of water across the basement. The water coming in was so high, it almost flowed back out through the windows. My oldest child lost almost all his possessions and furniture. I lost my home office, pantry, second refrigerator, laundry room, and family room. Every book I’d accumulated from birth to date, which I read regularly either for myself or to my children floated. My housemate, lost his room. I was fine, until my bookshelves fell into the water. At that point, I cried.

Everyone’s first thought is that I lost “stuff”. You know, I thought I’d lost stuff too. The clothing and appliances or my office supplies were the first things on my mind. Irreplaceable things my children lost also haunted me. It’s been 2 years going on 3 and I’ve realized the possessions weren’t the biggest loss in the flood.

Waterlogged home

The Months After the Flood

I​n the months that followed the flood, I had a baby and our dog had puppies. Now here we were, a growing family in a shrunken house. I wasn’t in a “flood” zone so without insurance to help with the repairs, I hadn’t regained my space yet. We were all living in the upstairs with two bedrooms. The housemate slept in the living room on the couch. My “office” was any place I could find peace. Sometimes I worked in the car outside, the back deck, or one of the kids rooms. Still, I thought I lost space and “stuff.”

A Year After The Flood

M​y child has his room back, but he doesn’t have flooring. I have a refrigerator and freezer again, but no family room. Other than my child’s room my basement has no walls. It’s a bare bones’ entity housing the stuff we have left. My office is located on the other side of my child’s room, so I have one wall. Still, we have zero closets and next to no storage because that was in the basement. We have a working washer and dryer.

W​e still don’t have closets, storage, or my pantry area. We have no flooring and the basement is there, nothing special. We have a basement, it exists, and we try not to think about it. It’s all a little depressing.

W​hat I Lost In the Flood

  1. T​he feeling of home. No longer is my house homey feeling, it’s a place I live with the stuff that made it. The special warmth of settling in at a safe place that reflects who I am or what I believe in is no longer there. I don’t settle in at the end of a day with a warm glow, in part because there’s still so much to do and I worry it will happen again.
  2. Safety. At anytime this could happen again. Even if I get the money to finish the basement, this will probably happen again. Every time it rains I get nervous. No longer do I enjoy the rain storms because I worry. What if it doesn’t stop? Will the sump pump keep up? I’m at a constant state of agitation about it, even when we go out of town.
  3. Time. Now all my time is all about keeping up with every day tasks as well as trying to get items sorted from the flood. Where will I put this? Did I save the whole set? Should I toss it out? Can I buy a shelf and put it down here for this? I don’t have personal time. I spend my time dealing with this situation.

N​ow

I​t’s 2 years post flood. Our house is still suffering. I constantly worry when it rains. Although I lived in this house for over 10 years without a flood happening, now it’s at the front of my worries. I’ve bought a generator and at the first sign of any water we haul items out of the basement. I don’t know if I have PTSD from this event, but I feel like this is what I’m suffering from. Perhaps a mild case of depression because I have so much to do and little time, money or energy to do it.

Our yard needs help, but I’m so busy inside that I don’t have time to plant or beautify. I long for summer days on my back deck with flowers and berries surrounding me. Or playing my flute on the rock in the back yard while the children play. Instead, I do laundry, clean, sort and try to figure out where to put the items we have. How will I get money to put up walls, closets, or flooring? Will our boiler hold out another year?

I lost more than just stuff in the flood.  It took the security, safety and homeyness of my house away from me. I don’t know if I’ll ever get it back. That is what I really lost in the flood.