“When we are able to go outside, we are going to find our island destroyed.” These are the words of Abner Gomez, the head of the disaster management agency in Puerto Rico. These are words I can’t seem to shake. These are the words of someone who is aware of what is happening to his island at this very moment, of someone who has come to terms with reality. These are the words of someone trying to prepare for the heartbreak he will later experience. How does one prepare to see his home destroyed? How does one find the strength to help rebuild his broken home after such great emotional trauma?
I am trying to imagine how it feels to be trapped in the midst of a disaster, to wait helplessly as the Earth itself ruthlessly destroys the place I call home. It is one thing to fear for your life inside of a shelter; it is another to fear the emotional aftermath of your own survival. To wait in safety knowing that total ruin will greet you when you step outside is painful. It is something I have never experienced. It is something the entire island of Puerto Rico is experiencing as I write this.
Whenever a tragedy occurs, I try my best to humanize those living through it. I try my best to look beyond numbers and statistical figures. The island of Puerto Rico has a population of approximately 3.4 million people. Approximately 3.4 million people have had their lives drastically altered and their homeland destroyed by a monstrous hurricane. Approximately 3.4 million people will later leave their shelters and find collapsed power lines, houses reduced to rubble, and trees torn from their roots. Thankfully, not much loss of life seems to have occurred on the island at this point, but loss of quality of life is a tragedy as well. After just barely recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria has struck the island once again, leaving only destruction in its wake. I cannot imagine the emotional toll of having something destroyed and then rebuilding, only to have it destroyed once again.
I am here to lend my support. And if that’s not enough, part of my wallet as well. (Yes, I understand now is not the time for corny jokes, and I apologize for this. But sometimes corny jokes help me amuse myself and make me feel better about all that is going on in the world). If you would like to show your support too, click here to find some ways in which you can help. Please remember that real life humans are in need right now. They are not numbers and figures. They are human beings. And they are currently living my worst nightmare. My home is so important to me. And I don’t know what I would do if I knew it was falling apart right at this instant. So send your love if you can. Hurricane victims desperately need it.