• Julie Ann Sombathy

Still Standing--an entry from my personal blog LawOnHighHeels

The worst part of living in the aftermath of a major disaster is that life goes on.  The months after are kind of like that moment right after you catch your pinkie toe at a right angle to a chair leg—You know, that moment when you can’t talk, can’t breathe & the world practically stops turning as you process the pain?

Except it doesn’t stop turning. Babies are born, loved ones die, kids graduate college and move away, and you keep getting older. Life moves on, and there’s not even a single still moment to take a deep breath and yell “DAMN IT THAT HURT!” 


The magnitude of the damage the storm inflicted, not just to our homes and buildings but to the collective mental health of our community, cannot be overstated. The knowledge that nothing will ever be the same—that there is a before and an after and no other option—it takes a piece of your heart. 

At times, this recovery feels an awful lot like grief. 

Nothing will ever be the way it was before the storm but it will be normal again one day;  hopefully, a new and better normal. What makes this place the only place I want to live isn’t the buildings or the landscape, it’s the people: a community so resilient, joyful, hard working, and strong that not even a Category 5 hurricane or its aftermath could take us down.

Recently my husband reminded me of the hibiscus trees that we thought had been blown away by the storm, and of finding them the day we cleared the front yard last October.  Those trees were a much needed sign that not everything was gone, that some part of our old life still existed firmly rooted in the ground in front of our home.  I propped them all back up that day, half expecting that they would not make it through the winter.  

But those hibiscus trees are still standing, and they have bloomed like crazy all summer.



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