So THIS happened!

If you have been reading this blog you may remember a statement made in a post on 9/16 as Hurricane Florence made herself felt :

But here in Durham, we came through untouched this time. We never lost power or had trees down (and we live in the Eno River Woods).

I shared our deep gratitude and amazement at the way Florence just skipped us even though we prepared like crazy!

Well, we have learned once again in a fresh and frightening way that there are some things you just cannot prepare for or control.

Tropical Storm, Michael, came up from the Gulf and over the Panhandle of Florida and kept blowing up the southern East Coast. When he got near us in Durham, we had rain and some wind. But as the hours passed on Friday, it seemed we had missed anything of significance again! Power went out for about 30 mins and as it came back on, I was so very sure that we were in the clear!

My husband called and we chatted about getting pizza for dinner. In seconds, the wind furiously picked up and every tall tree on this very wooded lot bent over more than I had ever seen. I left the sofa and room where I had been on the “safer” lower floor of our home and walked up the stairs.

When I reached the big windows in our room, I told Jim that I had never seen the trees like this and in that same breath, I screamed out as a large boom shook our whole house.

I stepped back into the hallway and looked down at the space I had just left. I screamed again! “There is a tree in our house” and “Just come home, come home now!”

I should have remained upstairs but suddenly no space seemed safe and I needed to see what really happened.

This happened.


That is the doorway I had just walked through


tree in ceiling

This is the Ceiling with the tree.


This is where I was working!

What you cannot see is me crying and calling my neighbor, Amy, and ‘hysterically’ ( ask her if she will ever recover) begging her to come, to come to see and be with me.

And as only a woman can do, she thought not of herself, but of me, and RAN down our long driveway, came in my home, and grabbed me in a hug that I still feel.


We should have hunkered in the one safe closet space and waited for the winds to stop. But we could not stop gaping at the holes and trees in that room. We actually went in there to get this MacBook that I am typing on and my mom’s picture and my journals, writing and editing books!!

Women know true priorities.

We took pictures and trembled in amazement. I had been so close to being IN that room~ in that doorway where a big branch crashed through. Tears and laughter mingled into cries of gratitude.

Jim made it home and our tight hug and deep kiss spoke the truth of how we still had what mattered most.

The house shook, the tree claimed walls, ceilings, and possessions, but did not touch what we both really love.

Each other


In the hours that followed, we tried to absorb the “impact of the impact” of this heavy huge tree. We put out buckets for the light rain that was falling into our home. We assessed if we needed to rescue any more possessions and remembered the TV!

By this time, our daughter, Anne, who was nearby in Durham, came over to see this thing that had happened! It is so surreal seeing the outside come inside your home in such a violent intrusive way.

Numbness and vulnerability mix with the flow of adrenaline and the combination is powerful but hard to explain.

Being with ones you love helps.

There is so much more to share of what transpired since “this happened!” Watch this blog for further unpacking of the story.

Some really great people are characters in the drama of this chapter of my “Living at the Pace of Gratitude” life.

I leave you with one more pic.   Debris Decor.  I suggest you not try to copy it!


Read my husband’s take on “this happened”  here.


10 thoughts on “So THIS happened!

    • Oh, Amy! Thank YOU! again and again, I laugh and cringe as I remember the hysteria you heard when you said “hello” . You came and you loved and witnessed my shaking, fear, and gratitude to be alive! You are the BEST neighbor! xoxoox


  1. Pingback: * So THIS happened! — phyllis reklis | Teachezwell Blog

  2. Pingback: You Can Burn This… | phyllis reklis

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