Living in Paradise – Life After the Storm

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The Mental Part

So the hurricane was eight months ago now, and it still resonates around here like it was yesterday.

The power and water continue to go out daily. Many sections of roads are still missing and not passable. We still have telephone poles and wires down all over. Our house is still in major repair as are many others. I guess this is the new reality living in PR? I will admit it wasn’t easy living in paradise before but now it feels impossible.

As we continue our daily lives trying to rebuild and help each other it seems we all are having similar fears/issues. We all still seem to have nightmares, nervousness, instant fear, less motivation and many other issues. I even had a crazy dream where a horse walked into our bedroom and backed himself into the closet. He then buried his head in my clothes in fear. Some say we are all experiencing some form PTSD. I’m not convinced but I will say when a thunderstorm rolls in I end up with severe anxiety and a rapid heartbeat. It’s weird, I know.

Our last two weeks have been more difficult than we expected. Liam is finishing up his last year of High School at an all-Spanish speaking private school. In PR a simple graduation is just not enough. We have to have a different celebration every weekend. Ring ceremonies, move up, grad parties, etc. It’s fun but tiresome. We have four more weeks of this.

We also hired a so-called contractor to repair our roof, the windows, doors, repaint, tile, and fix the gazebo and fence. This was a huge mistake as it has taken way too long and the result was far from what we expected. Live and learn, right?

And lastly, we said goodbye to our lady of the sea, Address Unknown. She has a new owner. It was a bitter sweet farewell. I will miss her terribly. I am sure you have heard the best days of owning a boat are the day you buy and the day you sell it. For me, after the hurricane I no longer wanted to be on the water.

I was raised on the water. I have sailed boats my entire life, but when I saw the thirty five foot waves breaking on the streets of PR. I knew my water days were over. Just the raw power unleashed by Hurricane Maria convinced me of this. I did try to sail the boat a few times after the hurricane but it just never felt the same. So hopefully the new owner will enjoy her more and treat her right. Here is a picture of where she is and the path that she is on. The miracle of GPS tracking software is kind of cool.

So now for the good:

Liam will be done with Inmaculada Concepcion. Yah, no more tuition! Or so I thought. He wants to go to University of PR. So after the scholarships and Pell Grants we might be in a better spot? Hopefully, that one will work out too.

Madison, my daughter evacuated PR four weeks after the hurricane. She has a new home in North Carolina. I cannot remember her ever being so happy. She is actually growing vegetables. Yes, the transition has occurred. She is growing up. It makes me want to cry with joy.

Berkley is still living in Tennessee with the twins. We have not seen the babies in almost a year. She is still trying to figure out her life, and has started a new blog. I know she misses the beach life.

Our house now has a new roof and fresh paint. We have a new dual fuel generator and a 1000 gallon back up water supply. We also have several new doors, windows, ceiling fans and so on. So things are stating to get better!

We also have been purging stuff from the attic for the last eight months, not by choice. Everything up there was damaged by water. We have never been good at throwing out the old when we replaced with new. The hurricane has forced us to do a lot of things we did not want to do, including selling the boat. But honestly, we stopped using the boat. So selling it was the right thing to do.

Living in paradise after the hurricane has not been easy. The mental part is the hardest thing I have dealt with in my life. We all seem to struggle in different ways- some with frustration, anger, fear, isolation, exhaustion and many others. I find myself not communicating with family and friends as much as before. I enjoy being by myself in a quiet room far from loud noises. I wake up every morning and drink coffee by myself while starring off to the western sky.

Sorry, I have to refer to the title of this page now. I have been rambling.

Living in Paradise – The Mental Part

I will admit I do live in what most say is paradise. And I do agree it can be amazingly beautiful. But the mental damage that has occurred to all of us is far greater than any of us expected or can believe. I still find myself thinking that I will wake up and this will have all been a dream. But that never seems to happen. We didn’t get power or water back until February, but it still goes out every day, so does it count? At least its something.. Some towns still have no water and are not expected to have power for a very long time! Houses still are missing roofs, some due to the cost of fixing, and others because the people have left the island. Everyone here is still be effected by what happened in September last year, and the worst part is, hurricane season is about to come around again… Wish us luck!

4 comments

  1. I feel the same way, being born and raised in Pennsylvania, I longed to live to here in paradise, were one day I can totally relax in hammock and the next work on the garden, not missing put on several layer winter clothes, yet not having my roommate who was born and raised here to share the experience in paradise sucks with many lonely times, for people take these things for grant and don’t have not same child like curiousity we both had upon exploring the island.

  2. Wow,you described just how I feel, I left my island 3 weeks after the storm with my daughters,grandaughters,and son in laws,my husband is still in Puerto Rico,I went back to the island April 3,and got back to Chicago may 8. I left so sad,and,worried to see how the island still is,with light poles still around,cables,and many damaged homes. I lived by the beach in Guardarraya,Patillas. Not easy to leave,but my daughter’s and,granddaughters are better here,jobs,school,it’s just all good and the help we received from many people was just a true blessing. My husband will try his best to be here with me before hurricane season starts. I still feel heartbroken for my people,my island! Its just not easy how this storm left us,all mentally. God bless! Wishing you all God’s comfort and grace.

    1. Thanks for reaching out! It truly has changed us all, but I do think it has bought the community much closer together. Hope your family is back together soon. Let us know if you need anything! If you would like to share your experience we would love to publish a guest post. God Bless and best of luck to you.

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