Friday, August 28, 2015

10 years later

Hurricane Katrina did not hit New Orleans. It hit Mississippi, and anyone who tells you different is wrong. The damage done to the city of New Orleans was caused by an outdated levee system and a failure of the government. The damage done to Mississippi was caused by a natural disaster. New Orleans was destroyed by the fault of man. Mississippi's gulf coast was destroyed by an act of God.

I just had to get that off my chest to start. 10 years ago my life drastically changed because of Hurricane Katrina. I've only mentioned it a couple of times here, and honestly there are probably a good many people I consider friends who don't know this about me. "Hi, I'm Hillary and I lost my hometown to a hurricane when I was 14" isn't exactly the best conversation starter if you want to make friends. Honestly I really struggled with if I was even going to acknowledge the 10 year anniversary here, but in the end I decided I had to in some way because it truly is my defining moment.

Trying to figure out what to write was really difficult because I feel like it's impossible to put my feelings about this event into words. I don't feel sadness as much as I feel numbness about it. It's as if I know thinking about Katrina will make me upset so I subconsciously just don't let myself do it. My family evacuated so I don't have a horrific story about riding out the storm, but I'll never forget the exact moment I realized I would never be returning to the only home I had any memory of. I vividly remember returning 5 months later to the slab and 3 partial brick pilings that were all that was left of what I had once called home and the uncontrollable rush of emotions I felt as I saw the destruction for myself. I can still picture the look of pity on everyone's face when they realized we were the family from the CNN story. But 10 years later I don't want this to be my Katrina story. Just as the cities destroyed have come back and are once again prospering, so am I.

What I want to share is a message of hope. Even though you might never face a natural disaster we all face some hardship. That hardship is only temporary. You will get through it. You will survive. Life will go on. Make the best of the situation and you'll be just fine. You can not change the past, but you can control your future.

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1 comment:

  1. My brother-in-law's childhood home in Pass Christian was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, and the stories I have heard from him and his parents make me weep. I'm sorry to hear this happened to you too.


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