2017-10-13 / Society

Remembering the flood of 2015

By Tammy Davis

Gratitude and Resilience Gratitude and Resilience October 5, 2015. The flood determined my memories that day.

October 5, 2017. I get to be the boss. I am creating my memories today, and I am making sure they are good ones!

Today marks the two-year anniversary of the flood. Facebook started with the reminders yesterday. “Look at your memories!” it announced with bright, cheerful graphics. My photos from two years ago were neither bright nor cheerful.

The first was of little Bruzer, his puppy face full of anxiety. The second batch was of the exterior of the house. It looked like it had been dropped in a pond. The water almost to the top of the garage door.

The third batch was from my photo back-up service, not a public site like Facebook. The third batch was all the ruined items, documentation for insurance and FEMA.

I stopped myself from looking through that batch.

In that minute, present day, I had a choice. I could look through photo after photo of all the things I had lost. I could grieve the past, or I could make a decision to focus on something else. The key phrase there is “make a decision.”

Tammy Davis Tammy Davis I had no power over the flood. October 5, 2015, was beyond my control. I could not stop the waters from rising. On that day two years ago I was helpless. A scared single mom with her daughter and her dog.

I’m still a single mom with a daughter and a dog, but today I am more strong than scared. More resilient than wrecked.

I am where I am because I set a goal for myself. I didn’t want the flood to win. I couldn’t fight Mother Nature that day. We’ll never win with that woman. I could only control the way I reacted to the situation. My goal was to set an example for my daughter and for my students. Life can throw you some nasty curves.

Blame it on Mother Nature, blame it on engineers, blame it on the dam inspectors, blame it on my decision to buy a house in a flood plain. No good was coming from blaming anyone. The only growth I could see coming out of that situation was gratitude and resilience. Two things we can always control.

So as my photos from the past started popping up, I made a decision in line with those goals. I chose not to play back those hard days over and over and over. I wanted to keep gratitude in my heart and remind myself how resilient we had been.

I took my phone and went through the house and made a new batch of photos—not for the public, but for me. I needed to determine how my October 5, 2017, would be.

Art from the Heart

My keepsake gallery is one of my favorite things in the renovated house. After losing so many mementos, all the things that made it through the flood became art. I framed an old receipt that reminded me of a great story. I framed a note from Disney’s Pluto to our little beagle because it makes me laugh. I framed my son’s first attempt at writing his name on lined paper. My keepsake gallery is full of the most beautiful art you can imagine. October 5, 2017, I took photos of all these things.

No More Stacks of Rubbermaid

Before the flood I had containers of Christmas. Enough decorations to deck three houses. Most women could probably say the same. The flood changed that. My box of ornaments is small now but special. When I look at that box, I am reminded of the friend who took all Christmas things to her house, so I wouldn’t have to sort through it. She and friends and neighbors and my students sorted and cleaned and glued and salvaged.

Now instead of stacks and stacks of Rubbermaid containers, I have my ornaments in a small, pretty box on my book shelf (top shelf). I took photos of that box of ornaments. Part of my Choose Happiness 2017 campaign.

One of my lowest points during the flood was seeing our Christmas angel in a pile in the street. I remember my friend moving her, so I wouldn’t have to see that over and over. There’s no photo of that broken angel, but it is a picture I wish I could get out of my head.

As I was taking my 2017 Photo Tour, I made sure to snap a picture of our new Christmas angel. My son, who is not a shopper, went from store to store to store trying to find one that was just right. It’s not just a pretty decoration to me. It is a reflection of my son’s heart. I want to remember that year after year.

Water Lines Fade and Flowers Will Bloom Again

My photo tour continued as I walked out on my porches. The water line has faded in all but a few spots, and my flowers are flourishing. Symbolic. Flood lines do fade. Flowers do come back and bloom. Friends and neighbors hauled my pots of flowers to their houses for safe keeping and even brought some to school, so I would have a little piece of home while we were out of the house.

One pot has my favorite flower—Coral Nymph Salvia. I thought the flood waters had killed it, but like me, that salvia is tough. October 5, 2017, I took lots of photos of that resilient pink flower.

Choose Happiness 2017

So, next year when the photo memories start popping up, I’ll be ready. Prime Photos will say, “Look at your memories!” And I will do just that. 2017 will be photos of things that make me happy. No sad pics for me.

October 5, 2015. I got knocked down.

I spent 2016 putting us back together again.

October 5, 2017. Today is a day for reflection. No sob story for me. I’m filling my brain with positive thoughts, and I’m filling my heart with gratitude. And I can’t wait to see what October 5, 2018 has in store!

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