If I don't write about it, I might implode.
|It has been more than a year since the levee breaches destroyed about 95% of the things I owned, yet I still find myself reaching for, or looking for, some of those things I've lost. A few weeks ago, I was working on a short story and wanted to look something up in relevance to the story, only to end up having to remind myself that the writing reference book that I was about to look for was destroyed in the flood.
I once had these neat little, plastic bookmarks that were made like a bee and a butterfly that I used to clip onto the edge of the page where I'd stopped reading a book... I almost went looking for them and had to remind myself that they were destroyed in the flood.
It's usually the little things that I have to remind myself about, like favorite pens that I once used to write my stories longhand whenever I wanted to. But it's the loss of more important things like family photo albums, my original birth certificate, my high school diploma, the American Flag we received when my dad, an army veteran, was buried, my psych research and term papers from when I was an undergrad psychology student, and lots of other priceless memorabilia...
Although losing material things is no comparison to losing limbs, I sometimes find myself looking for "phantom belongings" like someone who has lost a limb might experience the phenomenon called "phantom limbs" where the person swears he can still feel the arm or leg he has lost.
Rebuilding New Orleans can be debated for years to come, but one thing that will remain unchanged is the fact that even if everyone had evacuated the city, the devastating flooding caused by the levee breaches would have still destroyed about 80% of the city. And there's only one thing that could have possibly prevented, or at least lessened the flooding: the proper building and maintenance of the levees by the Army Corps of Engineers along with the proper oversight by the New Orleans Levee Board.
Maybe I would still own some of my phantom belongings, and no lives would've been lost if we New Orleanians of voting age wouldn't have fallen asleep at the helm and grown complacent, failing to request the proper building and maintenance of a stronger levee system, years ago, as tax-paying Americans.
But I can't keep dwelling on the past, or on "what coulda, shoulda been." I have to try to keep moving forward.