Now that Paul is almost home safe, I am able to articulate a few thoughts from my experience of Hurricane Irma. A huge part of the most important parts of my life literally went right thru the eye on Wednesday.
Paul and I have always talked about how NOTHING survives a Category 5, especially not a Category 5 of Irma’s unprecedented strength. But we were wrong, so wrong.
While the physical damage is extreme – incomprehensible, I think, to those of us who did not survive thru the terror – everyone I love is physically safe. Places that hold my most special memories are destroyed … gone. Where Paul and I fell in love, where we have celebrated almost every special occasion in our years together, where we have healed from tragedies, where we have shared our happiest times, where I gave a eulogy for a good man, where I look forward every year to helping host a charity event to give back to those who give so much to me, where we have celebrated every Christmas and New Years and birthday for a decade, where we have met so many people who have brought so much happiness to our lives. In many ways, Virgin Gorda is my home; it is without doubt my heart’s home.
To my friends who kept me calm and strong thru this (and who physically wrapped me in a hug when I broke) – and to our friends who helped to get Paul thru this – THANK YOU. You know who you are. We are eternally, eternally grateful and I know that we now share an unbreakable bond of loyalty and love that will stay with us for the rest of our days on this Earth together.
The silver lining of this tragedy was experiencing firsthand the way it brought people together. In a time where politicians and the media want to divide us, none of what they tell us matters even registered on the scale of what is important. Your race, your wealth, your nationality, your political beliefs, your social beliefs … none of those mattered even in the least. People just helped people. We loved, we supported, we cried and hugged across our keyboards, we helped, we cared. It was, and is, and will remain, beautiful. The very best of people.
I think our friends and family who were down there for the storm will like to hear how those of us across the world – even those of us who were total strangers before this – found and took care of one another, just like they were taking care of each other there.
So to my old friends who just became even more precious to me, and to my new friends who I can’t wait to hug and probably shed a few tears with, THANK YOU from the very bottom of my heart. To those of my Island friends whose lives and businesses are on Virgin Gorda and Anegada, know that we will be there and stay there with you to help.
The Islands will never be the same … they will be better for the way Irma has brought us together. Maybe that is why this happened, I don’t know. But I do know that I love each and every one of you and look forward to the happy times in the place we love that are in our future together. Hugs to you all!