i was 1,894.6 miles away, but my life was changed forever

seven years ago today i realized i wasn’t a child anymore.

seven years ago today i stared at the tv in disbelief as i watched people in our own country dying because of rain.

seven years ago today my life was so affected by what i saw i decided i needed to change MY life entirely.

seven years ago today, Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and demolished it.

seven years ago today, i saw an otherwise professional newsman from our local station sobbing as he was trapped in his hotel room because of the rising flood waters and there was no way out and no help on the way.

seven years ago today i realized i had to do something.

i started with blankets. it was all i could do.

i made 28 fleece blankets that a friend of mine, claire, helped to organize a shipment of supplies to be delivered to the people and their children living in shelters.

for days i could not turn off the TV.

for days i could not resume my regular life.

for days i realized that what i had seen had changed my life forever.

for days i sobbed as i watched children, scared, hungry, dirty, and lost.

there was something about watching first hand as a natural disaster was killing people, CHILDREN EVEN and demolishing the entire city of New Orleans and the 9th Quarter that i could not process.

9/11 was the worst act of terrorism on American soil. i watched that in disbelief. that changed ALL of our lives. but this, this was different.

THIS wasn’t at the hands of sick crazy people, THIS was an act of Mother Nature.

i was 30 years old, and for the first time in my life i realized that bad things can happen no matter what.

seven years ago as i watched that news coverage i felt in my heart that i was changed forever.

i KNEW i was changed forever.

i could no longer put my heart and soul into my job.

i was a regional sales director for CNET and after Hurricane Katrina, i didn’t care about advertising anymore.

i didn’t care about commissions.

i didn’t care about being the top sales person.

i didn’t care about sales goals, and i surely didn’t care about the competition.

Hurricane Katrina and it’s victims were all i could think about.

that news caster was all i could think about.

the lines of cars trying to leave and just being stuck.

the people having to leave their pets behind to save themselves.

the children who were rescued from rooftops after watching their own parents die.

…..and then the wretched things that went on in the shelters to these children and women.

Hurricane Katrina changed my life.

I was 1,894.6 miles away, but i would never be the same.

i am still not the same.

it was BECAUSE of Hurricane Katrina that i decided i needed to do something that mattered.

something where i made a difference on a daily basis.

something where lives were helped or made better because i was there.

seven years later i can look in the mirror and write this post and tell you i did that.

i left my job with CNET. i tried a few different paths before ending up where i am now.

and there is no better sense of self-worth and accomplishment than raising a child(ren).

i may not be changing the world, but i’m doing something that i know makes a difference every single day.

i am doing something that matters.

i am doing something where i know i make a difference on a daily basis.

the final death toll of Hurricane Katrina was 1,836 people, which made it the third deadliest hurricane in US history.

600,000 pets were killed or left without a home as a result of Hurricane Katrina.  Many pets lost their lives having been left stranded.

seven years after Hurricane Katrina i can say that it brought me to where i am now.

i will never forget august 29, 2005.

even now, tonight, looking at the pictures is too painful. i couldn’t post them. it’s just too sad.

i will never allow an august 29th to go by without taking a moment of silence and saying a prayer in memory in honor of all of those that died.

if you haven’t already, it’s not too late. say a prayer. take a moment of silence. and hug your loved ones a little tighter. ~ traci xoxo

if you’re interesting in getting involved in ongoing efforts or feel like you want to find out more about Hurricane Katrina, please visit this site.

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