I sent this message to my newsletter subscribers last Thursday and wanted to post it here as well:
“This is not a lighthearted or pretty newsletter today, but one that is very important to me as I’m asking you to please send lots of prayers to the Southwest Florida community.
As you have probably heard or read by now, Naples (where I live), Ft. Myers Beach, Sanibel Island, and surrounding areas were absolutely devastated by Hurricane Ian last week.
Actually, Ian affected thousands of people across most of Florida. Ian was a ridiculously powerful, slow-moving storm that left extreme flooding in its wake throughout the state – water is STILL rising and ruthlessly flooding areas throughout Florida a week later.
The endless stream of apocalyptic photos of Ft. Myers Beach and Sanibel Island are absolutely breathtaking, but not in a good way. The endless accounts of how survivors managed to literally keep their heads above water while being battered by 130+ mph winds for countless hours are gut wrenching and really hard to wrap one’s head around.
Then there are the stories about the unfortunate souls who didn’t survive and how some family members or friends were forced to watch as their loved ones were washed out to sea. It’s been mind numbing and difficult to process to say the least.
It’s a very heavy feeling down here right now and I don’t want to write posts about beautifully designed spaces when so many families have lost so much. It’s going to take years for some of these areas to be rebuilt (if they ever get rebuilt …) and hundreds upon hundreds of people lost everything they had and are now homeless and jobless. What’s worse is the majority of affected families did not have flood insurance and do not have means.
Our family is very fortunate we live 4 miles from the coast and the worst we experienced were lots of tree limbs everywhere and being without power, water, Internet, and very limited cell service for a week. But even though we fared much better than most down here, Southwest Florida just experienced a collective traumatic event and we each need to process the magnitude and gravity of what just happened to our community.
But through the immense grief have been many beautiful moments of humanity. It’s been heartwarming to see our community helping each other with food and other bare necessities. In Naples, tireless recovery workers have made great progress in cleaning up the tons of debris (sand, cars, boats, furniture, house and building parts strewn everywhere) in just a week. There have been countless volunteers coming to SWFL from other states with the slogan “#FloridaStrong” prominently painted on their vehicles’ windows. Beautiful sources of hope.
I’ll be getting caught up on client projects over the next few days so I can get out and volunteer in my community next week. I’ll be back to blogging in a few weeks – I have lots to share with you about our fixer-upper cottage but now isn’t the appropriate time.
In the meantime, if you’re looking to help needy families in Southwest Florida, the American Red Cross has had boots on the ground since the storm and donations would be a wonderfully generous gesture, even if you can only afford to donate $5:
Thank you so much for your patience, compassion, and understanding. Hug your family, friends, and pets a little tighter tonight – they’re really what matters most in life. ❤️
Thank you so much for supporting my blog – I am so grateful.