August 24th, 2017
Surrounding areas were being evacuated as Hurricane Harvey was closing in on the Texas coast. I am located on the Southside of Corpus Christi, TX. I have three kids and two dogs. My mother just had surgery. My husband is EMS, Fire Captain. I know I need to leave with my kids. It’s not safe to stay.
My husband and I started boarding up the house as my mom watched our three children. I reached out to our neighbors to see if anyone needed help, and if not, at least I had touched base with them. One neighbor in particular needed help boarding up her house. Her husband was in Florida. Time was ticking and my husband was encouraging me to leave, but I couldn’t until I knew our friend and her two children were taken care of. My husband boarded her house. He was so tired. He was so brave.
After we got our sweet neighbor set, I headed back to my house to quickly to start packing bags for the kids and the dogs. It was all a blur.
How do you pack your life into bags?
We were headed to a hotel within 100 miles of the Dallas area, as this was my husband’s work evacuee designated safe zone.
I thought that saying goodbye to my husband as he deployed to Iraq during the Iraqi war during his time in the Air Force was the hardest goodbye I would ever have to make.
We were newlyweds, no children, and I didn’t know if he would make it back. He did, and here we are almost ten years later, now with three kids ages 7,5, and 1. This goodbye was the hardest.
I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t panic. I had to watch as my husband so sweetly told our children that “they were going on a vacation!” And he had “rented us a hotel with a pool! How fun!” We would see him in a few days! He smiled and joked with the kids. He wanted them to leave without a worry.
I worried. I choked back my tears. I felt so sick. I was leaving. I was leaving without my husband. I was leaving him behind. Would I see him again? Would the hurricane take him? This is the price you pay when you are married to a hero. His duty is to protect and serve those in need.
The drive to our location was long. Traffic was stop and go. What was an almost six hour drive turned in to an eight hour drive. A few of the gas stations were out of gas along the way. I’m thankful that there were no accidents. I thought about my husband every moment of the drive, knowing he was going to report to work on Friday morning and Harvey was going to arrive soon after.
I spent every moment in the hotel balancing mom duty and keeping the kids happy and occupied. I couldn’t sleep. I was sharing information on social media for our friends and family to stay up to date, and most importantly, for my own sanity. I would sit in the common area watching the news while my mom watched the kids in the pool or while they all slept. I wasn’t alone. I was with others who had evacuated. It was such a sense of relief being with people who had also left family or friends at home, like my husband, who needed to hunker down and wait out the storm.
No one can understand the feeling of evacuating and leaving behind a loved one unless you have done it. I’m thankful they were there and I wasn’t alone with my feelings.
I’m thankful our kids could play together. I’m thankful to hear their stories, to see their family pictures, to hold their hands and pray with them, to cry with them, to sit in silence with them. The staff was amazing! They prayed with us. They cried with us. In those few days as we watched the destruction of our coast from safety, I was reminded of the unity that was felt. Friends and family started prayer chains all over the world. They were praying for Texas! I am thankful for every prayer!
We returned home Sunday August 27.
My husband was still on duty, but he was safe. The only damage to our home was our fence. Praise God. It can be replaced.
We had power. Within only a few moments of arriving home, we opened our doors to anyone without power. I was in constant contact with many of our friends who had stayed. I walked over to the house of my neighbor, who we had helped board up a few days earlier. I threw my arms around her and her children. Material things are nothing compared to all of those in our lives.
We were lucky in Corpus Christi. We were not a direct hit. Our neighboring cities had been turned upside down with devastation.
I am beyond grateful that my husband is safe. I am thankful for all the men and women who stayed.
I encourage you to thank all the medical staff, first responders, rescue teams, law enforcement and citizens who not only stayed during the hurricane but for those who came after to help the cries from disaster. Thank your neighbors and family who checked in and continue to check in on you, the electric companies working around the clock to turn your power on, your local retail store donating food, water, toiletries and so much more, the relief teams, and all those who prayed!
We are Texas Strong because we stand united through disaster. In the darkness there is light. We will continue praying for all those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
We love our community and are so thankful you are part of it!
If you are looking for ways to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey CCMB has put together a post of 4 Ways to Help Coastal Bend Hurricane Victims Immediately.
Hurricane Harvey caused serious destruction in Houston, but also in small towns along the Texas Gulf Coast, which were seriously damaged or destroyed. From Port Aransas and Rockport to Woodsboro, Bayside, and Tivoli, our community and its history will never be the same. So we’re sharing stories of love, loss, strength, and survival in the Coastal Bend.
Do you have a story or perspective you’d like to share? We’d love for you to submit a guest post and share your experience of Hurricane Harvey.