Helpless. Devastated. Shocked. Overwhelmed. Stunned. Saddened. Concerned. Scared. Many people felt these emotions last week as the water roared and the rivers rose in flood-ravaged Southern Alberta. I know I felt them all, and I live more than 3000km away.
But… my roots are in Alberta. My memories are in Alberta. My friends and family are in Alberta.
The basement apartment I lived in during most of my University days, in the middle of water-logged Sunnyside, just one block from the Bow River, was most surely underwater. The river paths where I ran countless miles are likely wiped out. The restaurants I worked in, the coffee shops I studied in, the parks I relaxed in, will all be covered in mud, mess, and debris. It seems surreal from afar; it must seem much more surreal up close. By the time I get back to visit, the damage will have been cleaned up. The fresh emotion will have abated. The reminders of the flood will still be there, but the destruction will not. I find myself experiencing a ‘survivor’s guilt’ of sorts.
To my dear friends who were evacuated from their homes: I am glad you listened to evacuation orders and did not question the danger. I am glad you are safe. I hope that you are allowed back soon, if not just for the physical comfort of home, but for the emotional comfort.
To my dear friends who have seen their neighbourhoods decimated by flood waters: I am glad you have community support to rely on. I am glad you are helping each other. I am so sorry this happened to you.
To my dear friends who have had their homes destroyed: I am glad you are able to begin the process of cleanup. I am glad you are looking to the future. The long journey of rebuild has begun.
You see, the thing is, Albertans are a strong bunch. And they will clean up, reconstruct, and repair.
***You can donate to the ‘Alberta Floods Fund’ via the Canadian Red Cross here.
***You can donate directly to two of my very best friends and their two young daughters by clicking here.
Their home was destroyed.