Arriving just in time
long after the storm
It’s been a couple weeks.
Hurricane Fiona has come and gone.
How can we even talk about that storm given the havoc wreaked by Ian?
The trees that came down in the yard are no longer a threat.
There is still a problem though.
My yard is a bloody huge mess.
I’ve spent hours with axes, hatchets, clippers and a chainsaw processing the maple and willow trees that came down. My forearms are screaming. My knees are weary and my back is reminding me of my age.
And the work isn’t complete.
There are still logs to chop and piles of leaf covered branches to be made smaller then hauled away.
The storm came and went.
The clean up continues.
When my wife was diagnosed with cancer, treatments took about a year. The storm arrived. We held on through the gales.
After it passed, it took years after for us to clean up cancer’s impacts.
When we experience a loss, whether its the loss of a job, a spouse or a future to a critical illness, people pay a lot of attention to us when we’re in the storm. Things are big. Things are topical. Things are dramatic.
There’s a certain kind of status of that comes with knowing someone going through something.
People want to help. They show up when things are dramatic and loud. They even show up for the initial clean up.
And, within a week or two, folks forget about the drama. They can forget about the pain. All they see is the impossibly large mess that’s still there. Sometimes they’ll even question us: Are you sure you want to deal with that mess? Or they act shocked. That storm passed three weeks ago. You’re still cleaning up? Frequently we can feel ashamed that the big pile of trees in the back yard isn’t fully dealt with yet.
I don’t think that’s entirely fair.
Life keeps going, even after the storm passes. We get busy. Sometimes we integrate the mess. It becomes a feature, not a bug. Other times, when big storms happen in our lives, the clean up can take a lot longer than you think.
Know anyone who has lived through a storm in the last year?
Arriving with help, an ear or merely a fresh presence ten months after the fact, might be just in time.