Thursday, April 2, 2009

He's home now too.

My dad that is. Home and doing fairly well. The fluid is off, his breathing is better and his voice is strong. My breathing is better too now. I am better, and I am not. Mostly yes, sometimes still no. I read in the Fargo Forum today that the total number of "psychological first aid visits reached 1,615 in the Red River Valley." For a people who pride themselves on "stubborn self-reliance and ability to weather adversity," according to reporter Patrick Springer of the Forum, " a sense of nagging bewilderment" lingers. Some are saying "I'm just not right, I don't know how to think straight."

I've been trying to process a lot of this myself. Why does it seem harder now in ways, with the threat diminishing for so many of us? I look back and see a few things. I realize we had something to rally around. We organized, we worked together and we supported one another. Our cause was the same. It didn't matter to me that we were building a dike at the grey/blue house, because what protected them, protected us. What was the difference really? And when city officials called for 1.5 million sandbags and raised that number daily to a staggering 3.5 million? It all got done. In fact in a 3-D rendering using Google SketchUp, Matt Chambers a former Fargoan who helped in the sandbagging efforts, gives some good visualizations to just what 3.5 million sandbags look like. Go here for the renderings : 3 D sandbag visualizations.

But now? We are on our own in many regards. We were scattered about and then finally called home to a much different scenario. The national guard are reducing their numbers. The once heavily patrolled streets are quieter. The water is receding. And the sandbags we're told, will have to be taken down by ourselves. There is no plan. No vested men telling us when or how. Its hanging out there uncertain and unsure.

And a part of me is still waiting for someone to tell me what to do. Nolan wants to sleep in our room, just in case the water comes in the night. The kids fight, whine and bicker more than usual. My nerves are frayed. I can't remember the last time I was away from them? Colton asks to go back to school every day. He thinks Monday he will. I haven't had the heart to tell him that with school starting two hours late on Monday, morning kindergarten will not happen on Monday. Its my new normal.

But then I catch myself. I sound ungrateful. And I am not. Out of sync perhaps. Bewildered maybe. Its not just me. My neighbor is training to run in the Fargo Marathon again this year. She hasn't missed a year since its inception a few years back. But she had a 16 mile run on Saturday that didn't go well. She got tired more quickly than usual. She also got dehydrated and almost blacked out. She is now worried she won't make it. Mentally, she has a block. But, she was amazing in the sand bag lines. Strong, steady and a hard worker. She threw many, heavy bags, relentlessly. And then she couldn't sleep when she was evacuated. Plus, after some long days at work, she tried to run that Saturday and couldn't. Is anyone surprised by this? I wasn't. But I told her I know her. She will run in the marathon anyway. Maybe, she'll have to walk a bit. Maybe she'll have a slower time. But she'll finish. And when she thinks she can't, I will be there to tell her she can.

We'll rally again. This I believe. We'll rally again.


  1. Vicky this is interesting and something I can so relate to...
    The way a crisis wears on you for a long time. I'm on the happy side of Stephie's sickness and Ellies tramatic entrance into the world, but still I feel "off". Just in a wad. Nothing like you my friend. But it's interesting that's all. Hang in there, I know you will, and I'll keep praying. A big step will be when the boys get back in to you...hugs.

  2. Robin, thanks sweetie :) I was thinking of you as I typed this and all you have come through recently. I am glad you are on the other side now, as we will be soon enough too. Please give precious baby girl a hug from me :)

  3. One doesn't think of how people feel when the crisis is past. The river is going down and people think you should come home and rejoice.
    I know that it isn't that easy so my prayers are still with you and your family.
    It will work out. It will.

  4. Having been in bushfires and having most of the houses in my neighbourhood burnt to the ground I know EXACTLY what you feel. You run on adrenaline during the crisis and part of your brain gets switched off. When the worst passes suddenly the reality of the situation hits you, you are exhausted and also the support you had sort of disappers because the crisis is over. You are left perhaps feeling worse than you were and a bit shaky.

    As for the kids I wonder if there is something on the net about what to do and how to talk to them about the crisis and their feelings because I am sure they will have nightmares for a while to come. I wish I could help take those sandbags down.

    You will all rally again and do this. My prayers and thoughts are with you and I am glad your Dad is doing better. Sometimes it doesnt just rain it pours. Give yourself a big hug!

  5. V - glad to hear that you parents are home - that is good news. The "let down" after an adrenaline rush is really a huge psychological experience -- you are right, its sort of like the whole world was watching last week and now its like the nightmare continues for those in the area yet the rest of the world is nowhere to be found. However, those of us that truly care and cared are still there and more than willing to do what we can -- it is tough when you are in the middle of a situation -- there seems to be no end in sight. Somehow we make it through. The media is amazing in some regards -- suddenly its like all should be back to normal --when the reality it there was a ton of snow and the whole thing could repeat itself in a week -- that is when the media would be back. Those of us who are your friends were there then, now, and next week...


  6. Thanks for the vote of confidence Dr. John. I do believe it will too, more and more each day :)

    Lilly, thanks so much for your thoughts. Its a relief to hear what I feel seems common. A friend did tell me the local radio station had someone on with great tips for the kids and how to help them process some of this. I will check into their website to find more. Thanks Lilly for your care and concern.


    You are so right and I am so glad to have all the support of friends and neighbors. Each day gets better and I have no doubt we will be back in the swing of our routine in no time.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. The deleted comment is from me. I can't believe I misspelled your name!
    I could have sworn I was already following you. Makes sense now why I didn't notice all of your posts during this ordeal until you were safe at home!
    I'm glad your dad is home and that you are breathing better. :)

  9. Thank you Jill, my name gets misspelled so often I hardly blink when it does :) Glad to have you following, I always appreciate your kindness and I love your blog design tips!!


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