Loss and the Choices We Make

So this is the second time since starting the blog that I’ve gone MIA for a few weeks.  Not cool, I know, but I’ve been a little preoccupied with a series of events. Most of my posts are a little quirky and funny (at least I like to think so), but this one is a little softer. I’ll be back to normal soon, but there are things I’d like to say that are worth sharing. First, on a personal note, a week after returning from my last whirlwind trip to Houston, one of my cats died.  Those of you that have taken the time to explore all of the “clickables” within my site would have found my extensive animal family’s profiles.  It’s never easy for me to lose an animal, but this one was especially hard as he was indeed my favorite, Seymour.  Add this to the list of struggles with island life. Vet care is scarce.  One day he was fine, and the next he wasn’t.  Unfortunately, it was Saturday afternoon when I noticed there was something wrong.  I tried to nurse him back to health long enough to make it see ProVets that were visiting the island Monday, but he didn’t make it.  It was rough.  I won’t elaborate much more as, frankly, it’s still upsetting.  I miss him every day.  Just a cat, right?  Well, not to me.  I try to find a little comfort in believing even the bad stuff happens for a reason.  There are so many animals here that are in dire need of help.  There is no replacing Seymour, but I can change another tiny life when the time is right.  I don’t exactly have a shortage of animals, but I’ll recognize when an exception needs to be made to accommodate another.

Seymour and his dog


After that came Hurricane Harvey, which coincidentally was supposed to hit us the day after Seymour died.  It virtually disappeared before it made its way to the island, as in it BARELY rained.  This island seems to have some kind of hurricane deterring force field around it, which I will not complain about.  Let’s be real…where would I evacuate to with my 9 animals?  Our good fortune was Texas’ misfortune.  Harvey pulled himself together and headed full force to Rockport, Texas.  A spot that I was literally in 2 weeks prior.  I even saw pictures of the restaurant we dined at one night that had been completely wiped out.  Very sad.  But let’s move up the coast to continue the run of bad luck.  I don’t believe I have stated it previously, but I’m from the surrounding area of Houston, Texas and still own a house there.  My sister and niece have done me the favor of moving in to take care of it for me.  It’s small…may not be much to others, but it was the first home that I made for me and my daughter, so it’s very special to me.  Warm, cozy, perfect.  Now I can also add to the list, flood proof.  While I’m happy to be down here out of harm’s way, it’s also hard to be helpless.  I’m very fortunate to say that my house was not damaged, and no one in my family was injured.  However, that’s not the case for much of the surrounding area.  It has been truly heartwarming to see people pulling together to help one another.  Strangers helping strangers.

Radar picture of Harvey


As you can imagine, I spent a lot of time communicating with my sister and other family and friends.  It was an emotional few days for me, so I can only imagine how those that were effected were and still are coping. A picture of 18-wheelers lined up waiting to make it to people in need was posted on Facebook – HEB Disaster Relief.  HEB, a Texas based grocery store, as well as my favorite grocery store.  It, along with several other pictures resorted me to tears, for a number of reasons, I think.  First, it truly is moving when you see not only individuals pulling together, but large corporations as well.  Sure, some could argue that they do it for positive press, but I like to think it’s more than that.  I have always been a believer that the most successful people are often generous and selfless.  Not to the point of being non-productive.  The saying “You get what you give” applies to everyone, no matter your status or pay grade. I saw an article yesterday about Southwest Airlines chartering one of their planes specifically to relocate shelter animals out of Houston in an effort to make room for more in need.  Then, anyone from Houston, is familiar with the generous heart of “Mattress Mac”.  Local furniture store owner that has built a small Houston empire.  The man gives back to the community CONTINOUSLY. He opened the doors to both of his store locations and welcomed people in that had lost their homes. They were sleeping on the furniture, and he also had food brought in.  The man is truly amazing and the primary example that comes to mind when I think “You get what you give.”  He’s truly an inspiration.

A little closer to home, was the overwhelming support of my amazing colleagues pulling together to help one another…colleagues, former colleagues, friends of colleagues.  People that had dodged flood waters blasting out their addresses urging anyone in need to stay with them.  “Our door is open”.  I can’t count the times I saw that come across.  Others out in boats rescuing families for hours on end for a few days in a row.  When waters started to subside, they were (and still are) forming work crews to help people rip out flooring and sheetrock. I’m not sure I’ve ever been prouder of the group of people I work with. I’m only sad that I wasn’t there to help. #AonStrong

While Houston is still recovering, Irma is making her mark.  It’s safe to say, this has not been a good year from hurricanes.  We can even expand that to just “disasters” as we can’t overlook that wildfires that are still burning.  It’s unfortunate that it often takes a catastrophe to pull people together. However, if anything can come from disaster it should be this.  Kindness goes a long way, no matter how big the act.  You never know who’s life you’re saving, or changing by a simple gesture.  Open a door for someone, help someone with their groceries, make eye contact, smile and acknowledge someone that feels as though they are invisible.  We’re all capable of changing lives and most of us don’t even know it.

Stay strong people, and when given an option, always chose kindness.

I may live on an island, but Texas will always be my home.

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