Decluttering Hurricane Style: What I Learned About Myself During Hurricane Irma

First and most importantly, I hope Dr. Mandel Sher and Center for Cough team’s patients and families throughout Florida and Georgia came through Hurricane Irma relatively unscathed.  (Center for Cough’s practice location is experiencing a temporary power outage.  In the meantime, Dr. Sher is available 24/7.  Please call:  1-877-381-1131 and the after-hours answering service will connect you with Dr. Sher.)  Thank You to all the people and professionals who demonstrate acts of loving kindness and responsiveness to lighten the load of others.  I am a Center for Cough team member who learned a lot about myself during Hurricane Irma and am grateful for the lesson learned.  “Declutter Your Home, Declutter Your Life,” a currently popular mantra and activity, was actualized during my hurricane preparation and evacuation.  Until Hurricane Irma, weeding through “stuff” into the “yes” and “no” piles was a weekend recreational activity.  Decluttering hurricane style clarified what is the “stuff” that must stay.

4:24 AM Saturday a text message announced Tampa Bay was Irma’s direct hit target.  Our extended family decided to evacuate – NOW.  No time to think.  No time to take “stuff.”  Like others in history, often for different reasons, who have fled their homes in darkness with the hope of finding safe haven, we left.  My great grandparents’ candlesticks and photo albums – the treasures I had always imagined I would grab during emergency planning – left.  My husband, our dog, me, medications, food and drink for the road, cell phones and chargers, and a change of clothes and shoes – that was it.  We kissed our doorpost goodbye and left.  Now here’s what I learned about myself:

I didn’t look back.  I didn’t have a fleeting thought of “I should have…” All of my prayers were focused on the safety and well being of our family, friends, and community.  Our “stuff”is the color of the life we have built, but it’s all dispensable.  Decluttering hurricane style demonstrated that even “stuff” that brings joy and gives meaning can be left behind.  The memories are ours forever.

So grateful.  So much wiser.  A loved-one’s hand in yours and a furry friend lying his head on your lap – those are the treasures that are the cornerstones of our lives.  Now this wisdom is ours too.  Decluttering like your life may depend on it – we will be sharing much of our “stuff” with others who really need it.  I know now we can live without it.

We all go forward – together.