It Can’t Rule Over Me

lightning bolt

I used to love it when it rained. The soft sound of drops coming down and hitting the trees, leaves, and grass. The clink, clink it would go when it hit metal. There’s something comforting being cozied-up inside and hearing the delicate patter outside. Actually, I used to love to go out and walk around in the rain, only coming in when my hair and clothes are soaked. All that changed one night in May of 2008.

It was raining. Click-click-click came from the roof because hale was in the mix. It’s not the funnest thing, but we’ve had those little balls of ice countless times. It was super late, and Thomas and I turned out the lights to go to bed. Then the impacts from the hail got louder. Too loud.

Our two Dalmatians jumped on the bed in fear—they never do that. A bolt of lightening light up the room while the drumming Thunder told us it was dangerously close. Thomas and I jumped out of bed and ran to our oldest’s room. He was fourteen months and, at the time our only child. Hale was coming sideways and breaking the window.

Thomas ran to his crib (which, thankfully, was against the wall and out of the line of fire) and grabbed our oldest, running back in the hallway. The house we lived in at the time was small and old (built in the 40’s). There was no internal room, and even the bathroom had a window. But the hallway was in the dead center, and it could be completely sealed off by doors.

I dragged Pongo and Perdy (our Dalmatians) out of our bedroom and shut the door. We huddled together in that hallway while thunder, lightning, and hale attacked our home. Our oldest was screaming in Thomas’ arms, and I just remember thinking, “Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!”

I don’t know how long that frightening storm lasted. I don’t even remember if the lights went out. I just remember feeling dangerously close to meeting my maker. After what seemed like forever, it stopped. We were spared. All the windows on one side of our house got blown out, but we were safe. Golf ball sized hale on the floor surrounded by broken glass and blinds ripped and lifelessly hanging from its strings told us how dangerous this was.

The next day we found out a supercell was above us—that’s tornado-like winds where it hasn’t touched down. That’s the closest I’ve ever been to being in a tornado. They say a tornado sounds like a freight train right outside. To be honest, I don’t remember what sounds were happening while we were huddled for our lives—I was too focused on our mortality. But it left me with something that I carry to this day…a fear of thunderstorms.

Now, I jump at thunder when before it wouldn’t bother me even when it came immediately after the lightning. I hold my breath every time I hear that a storm is coming, watching the radar on my weather app and refreshing every five seconds. If a severe storm with the possibility of tornadoes is in the forecast overnight, I’ll stay up until I know we are all in the clear. I think my record is around 5:30am.

After this last major freeze, which left us still with no running water (we’re on day 15 now), I find myself anxious about the cold. Before, snow days were a fun occurrence. We were lucky to have a dusting once every few years. Never have Thomas or I seen it get down to the single digits. But it did a couple of weeks ago and stayed like that for several days.

We thought we were prepared. All external pipes where wrapped tight with insulation and secured with insulation tape. Faucets were dripped. The pump was cozy in it’s little “house.” But even that wasn’t enough.

I find myself scared, now. Holding my breath as I check the forecast for coming days. Praying that it’s not in the low 30’s or lower because I’m scared that we’re not prepared. I’m terrified that I don’t know what to do to make sure this never happens again (and that we can afford it). It’s the uncertainty that gets me.

silhouette of woman standing in the rain

I wish I could share with you a boldness, but at the moment, I can’t. Right now, it’s getting through the anxiety, holding my breath that the damage can be repaired, and crossing my fingers that nothing else happens before we can learn how to better prepare for next time.

I know I’ll never look at snow the same way again, and I’ll probably carry this new anxiety for the rest of my life. Hopefully, with time and knowledge, it’ll dull. But if it doesn’t, I’ll push through just the same. It can follow me all it wants, but it can’t rule over me.

‘Til next time!

Amélie

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