After Michael

I feel guilty.  I feel so overwhelmed that I am sitting here, at my kitchen counter, drinking cold brew coffee, not too hot and not too cold, my son playing with his toys in his organic cotton pjs, the dogs sleeping quietly.  My possessions are all in tact.  My photography clients are still coming, and I’m still making money so that I can continue living.  

We don’t have internet.  That’s about it… in a way it’s almost nice.

A 30 minute’s drive to the east it’s a different story.  Homes are gone.  Businesses destroyed.  Schools obliterated.  Mexico Beach is gone.  There’s no cell service. It looks like a nuke was dropped.  A war zone. A’cola is underwater. St. George’s island is in rough shape.  I haven’t seen them with my own eyes, but I’ve seen photos and heard stories.  And this is just the coast.  Inland there is still devastation.  People are dead.  Lives gone.  

I just reread that paragraph above, and I don’t think I even touched on how bad it is.  My words feel insignificant.  Ineffective.  It makes me cry thinking about whats been lost.

I know I’m not alone.  Every friend of mine in this area has a heavy heart, a pit in their stomach, and just feels sick.  We are all crying.  We are all trying to help.  We all feel useless.

I don’t think our brains are capable of registering what has happened.  I don’t think we can fully understand.

The stores that are open here in Santa Rosa Beach and Destin are filled with people who need water, food, and shelter. My friend, Ashley, just shared a story with me about a mother with her baby that just needed a meal, and couldn’t afford one. We want people to come back and vacation here, in fact, we need people to come back and vacation here. But if and when you do, bring supplies and be sensitive to what is happening here.

Even though 30A looks okay on the surface there’s a lot going on underneath. Many of the people who work here lived in the areas devastated. My husband is in Panama City today helping a coworker.

Every phone call I receive from a concerned loved one saying “I’m so glad you’re okay”  Or “you were blessed” gives me mixed feelings.  I was not blessed.  A cold front simply spared this area from being devastated by pushing the storm to the east by 30 miles.  What does me being blessed mean about those who weren’t so fortunate??  

Yes, I’m okay physically, but my heart just hurts so badly.  I don’t know how else to put it.

Yesterday my packages from Amazon were delivered.  I almost couldn’t believe it.  The delivery man told me his friends lost everything.  His eyes filled with tears.  

I released my limited edition After Michael print as a way to donate money.  I’m hoping I can help someone by doing so.  I shot the photo a few hours after Michael passed.  It’s a bit dark and moody, but the sunlight is glowing and lighting up part of the image, representing hope.  It was a sight to be seen.  A feeling that I hope this image makes you feel.

People NEED help. I’m asking everyone to try to do something to help. Donate money. Donate items. Do anything you can.

I know this… Florida and the other states effected will recover.  Our hearts will recover.  Time always heals.  It will never be the same, but it will be okay.  It will be different.

I almost don’t want to hit the publish button because I don’t think I can give what is happening justice. It’s like when you talk to someone who just lost a loved one. You don’t know what to say, and maybe even want to avoid saying anything for fear you’ll say the wrong thing or not enough. I’ve learned though that it’s always better to say something. So I will share.

I’m asking myself…

Can we be forever changed in a good way from this?

Maybe we will value life a bit more?

Maybe we will be more open to helping others?

Maybe we will be more open to helping people in the future?

Maybe we will become more compassionate?

Maybe we will be more focused on what really matters in life?

Maybe our hearts will grow.

With love,