By Marina Gottlieb Sarles

The Storm

Waiting for a hurricane like Dorian—a Category 5 with winds gusting over 200 mph accompanied by a sea surge of some 22 ft—was, in and of itself, an anticipatory trauma. Stress levels erupted as my husband, Jamie and I thought about the future and the losses the storm might bring. Preparations and television reports showing the constant ‘cone of uncertainty’ disrupted our daily life creating high levels of anxiety. Did we have adequate water and food to sustain us? How long would we be without power? Did we have enough gas? What about our shutters and the generator?

And running under all this frenzied planning was a constant current of fear of the unknown. How would we survive this physically, financially? How would our community survive? Would it ever bounce back? Would we have to leave if our island became a war zone? Where would we go? There was no way to stop the distressing existential thoughts. Just keep moving. Finally, when the last towels were stacked near the windows and doors and our documents and valuables packed in a waterproof container—the preparations were complete.

However, nothing, and I mean nothing could have prepared us for the devastating impact of this particular storm.

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