They will need to tell their stories. These people uprooted by Harvey. Just like the refugees of Katrina and Sandy and Camille and on; they will need to sit with you and hold your hand and cry as they describe the water rising in the night, their baby’s favorite teddy bear floating out of reach, their last look back at the home they love.
Losing a place carries a weight that never lifts; scars you with memories of a gracious Water Oak or a blue hydrangea growing by the door. Scars you with a sense of longing forever.
They will need to tell their stories. Tell them to the bone. Write them, scream them, cry them out. Over and over. We will need to listen. To hand them a notebook and say keep writing it so you don’t forget. Keep writing it so you can carry your home within.
To those of us already scarred with the loss of place, we will keep telling our stories over and over; screaming them, writing them, crying them out to heal ourselves and to help the new hurricane grievers know that their pain is understood; that when everything is washed away all that remains are our gorgeous spirits reaching out to save one other.
I wrote about my Hurricane Camille loss in Water Oak: The Happiness of Longing. The loss of that sacred place is still my core grief and my greatest inspiration. Tell me your story. Let’s carry these together.