I’ve finally caught up with my days. This entire week seemed to have been one long ass day or one very long weekend that kept replaying itself — both the good and the bad parts. My sleep pattern is all out of whack. My appetite comes and goes. My stomach is upset & won’t let me hold much down. I miss being with my family. And we all miss being home.

If you’ve been following the news in regards to Louisiana, you’ll know that the rivers that flow through East Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes like Livingston & Ascension, took on too much water from the rain and resulted in flash flooding. This event has been declared one of the worst disasters since Super Storm Sandy and almost a week passed before outside media sources began to report on it.

Our home flooded and took in 5′ of water. As a result, 90% of what we own had to be thrown out. Futhermore, the walls had to be torn out and cleaned. My home is completely gutted. No floors, except for the tile & slate, and no walls — just stud framing. The cleanup was therapeutic in a sense: getting all of the damaged things out of the house and cleaning up. But it was therapeutic only until our pile of belongings had become a 2′ accrual of almost every single thing that we owned.

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All of that can be replaced. You & your family survived, you all have your lives, and that’s what matters most."

I know that we’ve lost a lot of things that can be replaced. Collectively, the survivors of the flood know this. But also somewhere underneath and amongst all of the rubbish is our independence, our memories – our homemade cards from our children, or that door frame that was used to measure their heights. We’ve lost that door that made a specific sound where you knew someone was sneaking into the kitchen.

We’ve lost things that made our places home. We’ve had to tear down the walls that were just thin enough to hear our kids snore or turn over in their beds. We’ve had to rip and demolish rooms that we’ve painted and decorated — carefully picking out colors and furniture with our children to match their little personalities that seemed to have changed overnight.

Underneath all of the rubbish is a myriad of books that we’ve gotten lost in for whatever reason. Literature that has helped us get through difficult times. Knowledge soaking wet and destroyed.

It’s ultrasound pictures that you run quickly to save before they are completely destroyed. It’s your kitchen that you’ve made meals for your family to enjoy, even when the days were long and you decided to cook breakfast but your kids enjoyed it anyway.

We completely understand that these things may or can be replaced, but we’ve lost so much more. We’ve lost our peace. We’ve lost our sense of normalcy.

Our sense of normalcy is out on the curb. Our habitat that we consider our safe haven, our protection from the world, is out there being tampered with and rummaged through by vultures who want to take your things to bring to the scrap yard for a quick buck. (Which is invading in itself!) But for most of us, if not all of us, it’s our entire lives.

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Our. Entire. Lives.

So let us mourn. Let us mourn our life that we’ve had to carry out to the curb for disposal companies to take away. That life that took all of the strength we had left in our souls to tear down the walls of our spaces that we’ve made unique to our liking, so that we can rebuild if we can. Let us mourn the years that we’ve put in so many hours, working so many jobs, just to buy this house and more importantly, make it home for our families.

Those who don’t know how to suffer are the worst off. There are times when the only correct thing we can do is to bear out troubles until a better day.” — Ming-Dao Deng

Let us mourn and cry and scream about what we lost.

Because what we lost was more than just things.

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21 Comments
  1. Allaina

    August 21, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Carla, I cannot express how sorry I am for your loss. The thing that upsets me most is that my peers, like you, are buying their first homes to raise their young families and it has all washed away before their eyes. It’s something iconic to me about your first home, maybe because it’s a milestone I’m still waiting to cross. And even if it’s “just stuff” that can be replaced…it was my stuff. I pray that each passing day for you and your babies is easier than the last.

    1. Rae

      August 21, 2016 at 11:40 am

      Exactly. We had JUST made a year the week before all of this happened. Now most of it is gone. We can rebuild, but the situation has my emotions everywhere. I remember working three jobs over the summer just to get this. THREE. So that’s why I say it’s more than just things we lost. And trust me, if homeownership is what you want, you’ll get it. If you need any advice on that just let me know. It’s easier than you think.

      Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. They are so greatly appreciated Lai!

  2. mimi

    August 21, 2016 at 10:32 am

    My love for you runs so deep, and my heart is so broken for what you all are going through. To visually see you sharing the devastation makes it so real. There isn’t much I can say but mourn it all. Know I love you and am praying.

    1. Rae

      August 21, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Thanks so much, Mimi! Even though we’re states away, trust that I can feel all that love that you and your family are sending to us. When you’re there in the mist of the devastation and the ruins, it definitely becomes much more real. Our entire neighborhood looks like this and we’re all just trying to do the best we can to get back to our own versions of normalcy.

  3. Law_Fal

    August 21, 2016 at 10:38 am

    This whole thing is just a so F’ed up. It hurts seeing all of my friends having to go through this, it hurts seeing a place I called home for so long suffering so much damage & it makes me angry that not only is the media ignoring but damn near downplaying the magnitude of things. The process of healing is painful. We had to go through this with Hurricane Ike but this is even worse because it came with no warning. It literally was just supposed to rain like it always does. The greiving will be necessary. Take your time to fully process it and realize that even though it was just things it is ok to hurt for the lost. Love you Hun!!!

    1. Rae

      August 21, 2016 at 11:52 am

      That’s the toughest part — no one saw all of this devastation coming. The governor and the officials all did the best they could with trying to warn us, but we still didn’t have enough time to prepare. One minute they were telling us the river was going to recede and the safest place was to be inside, and then the next minute, people are being evacuated at 2AM. But I have NEVER seen such unity in this city and the surrounding parishes during most of life as I’ve seen within the last two weeks. It makes it just a little bit easier to deal with.

  4. Harper

    August 21, 2016 at 11:02 am

    It’s so crazy how these things happen so quickly, life is changed and you try to find God’s purpose for putting you through this. Is it just for more strength? Is he taking away your security to force you to go after what you have been making excuses for? Keeping your family in my heart.

    1. Rae

      August 25, 2016 at 8:41 am

      That’s exactly where I was about a week ago — trying to figure out what God was trying to tell me and show me. As the days go by, I’ve been writing my thoughts down on what I think all of this means. It’s made this situation better in a sense. Thank you for your prayers, Love!

  5. Mia

    August 21, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Carla since you started posting stuff on IG I have been trying to keep up with the news and also if you and your family are safe. My heart goes out to you especially since you just became a home owner and it was a blessing watching you and your family build so I can only imagine how it feels to have to start over and build on top of what you guys have already accomplished. Please keep us updated and if you need anything just let me know I’m here for you and your family in any way possible continue to grieve love.

    1. Rae

      August 21, 2016 at 11:56 am

      It’s hard, but we’ll get there. I think that’s one of the most shocking parts. We had just made a year about two weeks ago and one family had probably made about 6 months.

      Thank you so much for your concern and your love. I will definitely try to keep you & the world posted.

  6. Yetti

    August 21, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Carla. First off, thank you for keeping us posted on your whereabouts and your progress. With everything going on, it was extremely thoughtful of you, that way I didn’t need to scour google for your last name and locate you manually lol. Especially since coverage of this is so damn shitty.

    I can’t imagine what you’re going through! Take your time healing, you need it. No one is allowed to rush your process. If you need anything, please let me know. Have you and your loved ones in my thoughts. Keep us posted lovely.

    1. Rae

      August 25, 2016 at 8:42 am

      Thank you so much, Yetti!

      I’m realizing that this process will definitely take some time and I don’t plan to rush my healing process one bit. Although I must say, things are looking much better. I still have my moments where I can’t even believe I’m going through this, but each day seems to be just a little bit brighter.

  7. Shannon

    August 21, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Wow. I’m so sorry for everything you’ve lost! I get why you feel the way that you do. It’s not about the items, it’s about the hard work put in, the memories that come with these things, and other memorabilia. I truly hope that you and your family are doing well.

  8. Daenel T.

    August 22, 2016 at 8:21 am

    I remember when the damn burst near our home in Pennsylvania and we had 10 minutes to evacuate… I just stood there. What of your life/memories do you save in 10 minutes? I hate when people say it’s just stuff. It’s not just stuff. It is, like you said the lives and the memories and the things that we saved and worked hard for. It’s OK to cry and to mourn the loss. It’s OK to feel the pain and the sorrow. If you need anything…

    1. Rae

      August 25, 2016 at 9:16 am

      oh wow! I never knew that you had to experience something like that. So you definitely know what it was like because that’s about the same amount of time I had to grab all that I could before the water filled the streets. It’s scary yanno?

      And thank you so much for checking in on me throughout this entire process! That mean more to me than you know.

  9. Disa Chantel

    August 22, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Oh goodness! I’m so sorry you’ve been going through this, Carla! Glad you’re okay, and I love how you’ve transformed this tough time into an opportunity to cleanse. You’re right. All of that can be replaced. These pictures are so heartbreaking. I can only imagine what it feels like to have the beautiful home you’ve built stripped down to the bare bones. Sending love and light your way!

  10. Amanda Nicole

    August 22, 2016 at 10:49 am

    I’m currently heading to work about to cry on this damn train. I am sending my love and blessing Rae! I’ve been checking on you thru IG literally everyday hoping that you post saying that you and your family are okay. I’m glad you’re okay. If you need anything please do not hesitate. It’s not just “stuff” it’s your life. It’s your world. But God won’t give you anything you can handle.

    Love ya and praying for you!

    – Amanda

    1. Rae

      August 25, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Thank you so much lovely! Keep praying!

  11. Kat

    August 22, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Thank the Lord you and your family are okay. I know it’s unsettling to lose your things and precious mementos (I could only imagine,) but always remember He never gives you more than you can handle. Sending you many blessings as you rebuild.

    1. Rae

      August 25, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Thanks Kat! I’m definitely trying to remember to keep myself mindful of that. Some days are harder than others, but i get through them.

  12. Valla

    August 23, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Oh Rae again you and your family are in my prayers but more importantly I’m just happy everyone is safe. I hate that you lost your things and are displaced out of your home reminds me of katrina all over again and that is something I will never forget. Sending many blessing to you and your family! You will rebuild in no time GOD will make and has always made a way.

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