When I think about this time last year I don’t know where to focus my thoughts… They are like one of Picasso’s famous paintings… all disjointed and irregular.
If you’ve read my “ABOUT” page of this blog, you know that I live on an island… Beautiful St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. This past month of August makes it twenty three years we’ve lived here.
The Virgin Islands are a beautiful group of islands in the eastern Caribbean, St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island all make up the U.S. Virgins. We are right next door to the British Virgin Islands and a short twenty minute or so plane ride to Puerto Rico.
The beautiful photo of the double rainbow above was taken four days before the beginning of the most terrifying, unpredictable, emotionally draining and heartbreaking times in my life.
You see, this time last year preparations were underway for the coming of a major storm. The storm was days off but I had begun the process of taking things off the balcony when I looked up and noticed the overwhelmingly gorgeous day. It was one of those days that makes you drop whatever it is you’re doing and feel compelled to silently give thanks for witnessing it’s splendor. The bands of rain moving over the water and the double rainbow that was forming were awe inspiring. From past experience I knew we may not have another day like this for a while so I ran inside and grabbed my phone to capture on photo this most breathtakingly beautiful day.
After the Storm…
And as expected, a day later a picture taken at this very same spot off the balcony of our condo would be drastically different.
The next day on September 6, 2018 we were hit dead on first by hurricane Irma and then two weeks later hurricane Maria struck. The most amazing thing about these events other than them taking almost the exact same route and hitting two weeks apart is that they were both unpresidented category five hurricanes. And I don’t care what you’ve heard after the fact… These were both monster storms that devastated not only the U. S. Virgin Islands but also flattened Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands and also almost every island in the lesser antilles.
That was last September. After living through the devastation of these two history making storms and trying to salvage what was left of our lives I was hit with a third hurricane that came in the form of a phone call from my daughter in New York telling me that my sister Barbara in Cincinnati had died.
Barbara was my oldest sister.
My beautiful, intelligent, funny, trailblazing sister Barbara had been the family matriarch since our mother passed twenty two years before… a short five months after we moved here in August of 1995… That move, amazingly enough was only two weeks before our first initiation to hurricanes… when category three hurricane Marilyn hit the island and all but leveled it.
As I write this, re-living the pain of those times last year is almost too much to bear and I am still unable to articulate the immense feelings that are still so sharp at times they cut through the surface and bleed anew like it were only yesterday.
What I share here are but a few of the tramas we endured in the aftermath of the events of last year but they are by far the greatest. And so I will leave it right here.
That double rainbow in the photo I took days before the storm, as beautiful and awesome and powerful as it was, was still not strong enough to block Hurricane Irma or just two short weeks after that second monster storm (Maria) made its brutal landfall. It definitely was not strong enough to block the pain of losing my sister.
But then, we never know what The Universe has in store for us at any given moment. There are days that go by when I am as if none of this ever happened and I am thankful for them. But then the reality sweeps in just as those first bands of rain swept across the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea that day last year when I captured my life before last September… and I know I am forever changed.
But I am still here, shaken, battered and still afraid at times… But I am still here. One love~ ❤💕💞