Hello everyone, we’re already well into 2018, can you believe it!
I’ve written this post perhaps a dozen time but I just couldn’t string together the right words to effectively convey what I wanted to share with you all
Back in 2017, I wrote about Hurricane Irma, one of the deadliest storms ever to hit the Caribbean region. It was definitely terrifying not knowing if friends or family are alive, or… well you get the point.
But imagine the surprise in September not even a month after, Hurricane Maria came through. Many of the islands affected by Irma got hit again by Maria. My beautiful home island of Dominica would never be the same after this.
Maria struck hard in the night bringing with her heavy winds and rain. As the night progressed, reports of flooding and roofs being lost were already coming in. Those of us abroad were concerned, glued to our computers and phones, listening and sharing any and all information with one another. Our ears mesmerized by the reports from local radio stations. However, in a blink of an eye, there was silence. An experience similar to that of Barbuda.
By morning, roofs, entire houses and many lives were no more. The only communication for the next several days? HAM radios. For nearly two weeks and more regular communication with Dominica was a myth.
My mind raced with hundreds of thoughts, my mother, my uncles, my cousins, my family and friends. How were they? Did they have food? How were they coping? I was frantic. When the pictures of the devastation were finally seen, I was heartbroken. My once lush and green paradise was practically a barren land, the earth and the people both in need of nourishment. Hurricane Maria left her mark deeply rooted in the land and minds of the people.
It’s funny how we all long to achieve better for ourselves, choosing to leave behind a piece of ourselves in the namesake of our native islands. Yet when we have found ourselves in the very midst of our desires, our hearts break longing to return, even if just for a moment. The sensation is not that of regret but more so of a homesickness in which we desire the atmosphere that we know, with the opportunities that we presently have. The bittersweet desire to have it all is like a knife plunging deep into our hearts, where the pain is worth it and we are torn between forever carrying it or removing the knife and thus bleeding out.
Hurricane Maria has taught me that it is possible to bear the pain of the knife while gathering the necessary material needed to repair the heart. If that makes any sense. I’ve grown to have a much deeper appreciation for the life I had growing up and the experiences and memories I share with folks back home. The pain of losing someone you love is unbearable and because of Maria we have to continue living with that pain inside us. We can, however, either let that pain define us or let it build up a strength in us that allows us to do the impossible.
More importantly, Maria taught me that the love I have for my country is bountiful and unconditional.