A letter to a friend during the recent floods

A good friend of our family who used to live in Calgary sent me an e-mail today asking how we are doing. This wasn’t the first e-mail I have received from concerned friends so I thought I would post my response here.

Dear friend(s),

Thank you so much for your concern. My little family is doing more than okay (and so is my brother and his wife). It is hard to believe that only 6 km away from us the city is under water and yet to look out my window you would never know that anything is going on. Our little 1955 bungalow sits on top of a hill and has never had any flood damage so we knew we would be safe. My day today was surprisingly normal: Moira and Fionnuala played with a friend while Oonagh lay in a puddle of drool and practiced her rolling over. I worked on making cashew smoked tofu burgers and raw brownies. (Ah, the life of a stay-at-home quasi-hippie mom.)

All of my interaction with the flood have either been online looking at photos or talking to friends on the phone to make sure that the ones who did need to evacuate had a safe place to stay. Not surprisingly none of them wanted to stay at a place with three children five-and-under and only a crappy futon to sleep on.

This isn’t to say that the flood hasn’t effected us. We were supposed to leave for Kelowna, B.C. yesterday for a family vacation but the highways are washed out in many places. The Mister has cancelled his vacation this week because the power to downtown is out and will be for a couple more days. That means the I.T. infrastructure is down for his company (and every other oil & gas company in the vicinity too I expect) and he will be needed to bring it back online safely. But these are all small beans compared to what other people in the city are going through and when we compare our flood to Katrina, well, there isn’t much of a comparison. We are a rich city full of resources. Calgary has a well established emergency response infrastructure in place – we need to with all the oil and gas wells in the area.

We also have a wonderful mayor in Naheed Nenshi. I’ve been getting a lot of my information off of his Twitter feed and at one point the citizens of our city were demanding he go home to have a nap.

It must be heartbreaking to have ones home wrecked but there is so much help out there and so many places for people to go if they need the help that hope has never been lost. I’ve been asking around about what I can do to help and so far the best answer is to stay home and out of the way so the first responders can do their jobs – so that is what we have been doing. I have seen photos of one of my old apartments buildings being well underwater on the first floor and I am having a hard time tearing myself away from Twitter and Facebook for constant updates.

At this point we just wait and see what happens and bask in the feeling of gratefulness that permeates our home. In a way I’m glad we hadn’t left earlier for our vacation. Even though there isn’t much I can do right now it still feels good to be here just in case my city needs me.

Love,

Melanie

 

2 Responses to A letter to a friend during the recent floods

  1. Much of that sums up how we are feeling too: lucky to live near the highest point in Calgary, admitting that our little trickles of basement leaks are laughable, feeling like it was no coincidence that we had already decided to cancel our vacation (due to illness)- leaving us available to help wherever we can.
    The morning after the flood we found out my brother’s good friend & fiancĂ©e lost their home & cat to a devastating fire, with their wedding 2 weeks away. I am certainly counting my blessings, while looking around at all the stuff in our home, wondering how soon I can part with it, to help so many others in need.
    We had to do some errands this afternoon in our neighbourhood and north, and is was as if nothing had even happened over the last 2 days. I am sure that there are many people, who were not affected, just waiting to be told how they can help (admittedly ,in some cases, to alleviate the guilt that comes with being missed by tragedy…) I am also very proud of our mayor, as well as the city, for being so organized, as well as the citizens for taking the city seriously and not thinking that it was a big premature panic over nothing. ok. done. must leave some space for others!

  2. So glad to hear you’re doing OK! xo

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