Friday, October 10, 2008

Opened My Doors To Help...They Ended Up Helping Me

Shelly enjoyed all the extra LOVE and they wanted to take her back, but she was not having that...she immediately jumped out the trailer after the picture was taken.

My household went from two adults and a dog to a household of ten people and a dog (Shelly). My brother and sister in law with their 22-year-old adult son and three teenagers ages 17, 16, and 15, an adult niece and her ten-year-old son rounded out the evacuees living in my house for what I thought would be three to five days, but turned out to be eleven days.

Many of my friends and other family members thought I would be pulling my hair out having so many people in my house. I have to admit I wondered if I could handle it after they all arrived. Truth is I enjoyed every one of the eleven days my evacuees were here. Having them here and making sure they were comfortable did more for me than they know.

What my family, friends, associates, and blogging community did not know was for over a year, I have been silently suffering from anxiety and panic attacks every morning when I wake up to an empty house. I fight the attacks all day off and on and do not completely relax until my husband arrive home from work. Everyday I was tempted to call my husband, daughter, friend, or anyone when I was battling the anxiety and panic building in my body. The attacks started after the third time I had a serious medical problem and I was home alone with Shelly.

I allowed fear to engulf me when I am alone at home or driving it altered how I go about my day. I once tried taking medication and I prayed often-begging God to take away that dreadful feeling. The attacks are not as severe from when they first started, but they are scary nonetheless. After receiving the phone call from my family asking to come here to escape Hurricane Ike, I immediately dismissed my fear of having the attacks. I prayed asking God to help me keep it in control because the last thing my family needed was to worry about me, when they could possibly lose everything when Ike hit their city.

I am happy to say the entire time my evacuees (which is what I fondly call them) were here, they never seen me have an anxiety or panic attack. To ease the anxiety they were feeling wondering about the damage Hurricane Ike was doing. I made it a point to have their stay with me and mine feel like a vacation.

They had the opportunity to see what could be the last time Goat Day’s would be an event in my city.

They had the opportunity to enjoy the last Mid South Fair held in Memphis.

They went to the movies, park, and mall.

They went to Tunica

They went to Beale Street

As they were packing up to leave, it felt good knowing I accomplished what I set out to do when they said, "We felt like we were on vaction instead of evacuees. The people we been talking to who are stuck in hotels, shelters or stayed at home are jealous. Our house is the bed and breakfast, ES house is the home away from home, your house is the evacuee house."

I replied, "No, my house was your home away from home, but I will accept the title house for the evacuees. Adding, if I were you all I would not talk too much about the good time here because other family member will try to beat you here if there is another evacuation, but you all have first call since we survived eleven days together under one roof. It has been years since I had teenager in the house and I enjoyed every minute of it. Had your children been bad @ss kids…I would have shown you all the door on day one."

When they pulled off and I returned to the house I had a beautiful gift, card, and a check thanking me for the hospitality.

What they do not realize is by coming here to escape Ike they helped anxiety and panic attacks are few and far between since they left and for that reason, I am grateful that Hurricane Ike sent them here to seek refuge. Their homes did not suffer major damage and they are back to their daily routine.

Regardless, at the end of the day…there is no place like home and having your house back :)

1 comment:

Diane J Standiford said...

Wow, very moving. And there is Shelly, a cutie...looks a bit sheepdog? You are a true friend.