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How a Hurricane Made Me Fall in Love With Candles.
The Story of Wilma
A Little Light in My Life Was Comforting
To Light the World. To Love One Flame.
In the wake of hurricane Isaac on the anniversary of Katrina, I found my own love of candles when we were devasted with Hurricane Wilma in Fort Lauderdale Florida in 2005.
Collecting candles was a love I had but I didn't really know at the time, that they would become a necessity to my life. Every room in my house had several candles. Their aroma alone was satisfying.
On that terrible day of October 19th, 2005 when Hurricane Wilma, who was a catagory 4 but hit as a catagory 5 hurricane, not only showed devastation to my home as well as my neighborhood, changed my life forever.
I was never scared of hurricanes because they never happened where I lived. Who thought some wind and rain could rip your whole life apart in an instant. The noise of the storm was aweful as you heard debris flying around, hitting your house and sounding like it was going to rip the walls down in a minute. Feeling the air come under the roof and hoping it wasn't going to lift it up off the house.
I sat in my bathroom, on the floor with my comforter, my cat, and a lit candle til the storm was over. Clutching my comforter like it was going to save me. The darkness of the house came so quickly, had I not had that candle the devastation would have only been ten times worse. I don't remember exactly how long I was in there, but it was a very long time indeed.
The affects of Wilma
The After Affects of Wilma
We had no power for three weeks, the enclosure for our pool completely detached from our home and landed on the ground. Every fence in our neighborhood including ours was gone. They were not even on the ground but gone. It was the first time in five years I ever could go in my back yard and look completely down the whole street. We were in desperate times for sure. No power meant food loss, no laundry washed, no tv, no cooking but we did have a gas grill that managed to stay on the patio through the storm and we found a generator 30 miles away from home. So not all was lost. There was no hot water but at least we didn't lose our food. All the neighbors pitched in to help clean up the mess. Our street looked like someone took explosives and just let them go from one end to the other.
When we finally did get to clean out the pool we found our neighbors table inside of it and many other things that did not belong to us. You can only imagine things from 20 miles away inside of your own pool. I found some bills that belonged to people who lived across town right in my pool.
I was always asked by my exhusband "why do you keep buying so many candles"? Well now there was a need for them.
At that moment in my life I fell in love with candles not just because of the light, but because the fragrance was so lovely. It was at least a little happiness to sift through our turmoil. Each room had light and a wonderful smell. As days went by and no sign of ever getting our electric back on, candles were the only thing that was keeping me sane.
I worked at a hospital so you can image coming home from a long 12 hours shift and having to take a cold shower. It got so hot after the hurricane it was almost useless to sleep. I remember keeping a large glass candle burning in my bathroom because it was so dark at night.
That flicker of flame kept me safe throughout the night and in to the morning. Since then I have still collected candles but not for sitting, for using.
Don't ever take these storms for a joke, because when they come, they come hard. Candles saved my sanity, but also made me appreciate that the little flame it carried was an eternal flame for my comfort.
How To Fair Through a Rough Storm
People who never have had to deal with a hurricane or any kind of mother nature tragedy, really have no understanding of how much is lost during these storms. Hurricanes have been around for many years but with modern technology at least we can be warned a week ahead to prepare.
How would you fair in a large storm? Do you even know what you would need in your home to survive through weeks of no electric? Here is a list of things you would need.
1. WATER – 1 gallon, per person, per day for up to two weeks more is always better in this case!
2. Toilet paper, paper towels, moist towlettes
3. Weather radio and BATTERIES
4. Flashlights – solar or battery operated
5. Non-perishable food for you and your pets (two week supply)
6. Can opener – the old fashioned kind (remember, the power could be off)
7. Any prescription meds – at least a 2 week supply
8 FIRST AID KIT One that includes: a first aid book, Band-Aids, bandages, tape, antiseptic, compresses, aspirin and non-aspirin pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication and antacid.
9. Mosquito repellant and Cortaid
10. Flares, distress flag and/or whistle
11. Cooler with ice
12. Solar charger for cell phones
13 Full tank of gas in your car
14. Plastic trash bags
15. Water purification kit – tablets, plain chlorine, and iodine
16. 2 burner camp stove with fuel or a gas grill with plenty of propane
17. TAKE CARE OF YOUR PETS. Make sure your pets’ shots are up to date, you have a current photo of them with you as well as they have a collar with an id tag that includes your cell phone number.
18. Get cash: In small bills. ATMs don’t work if there is no electricity
19. Store your valuables in waterproof containers, Including theses items and documents:
- Medical Records
- Bank Account Numbers
- Social Security Cards
- Birth Certificates
- Marriage Licenses and/or Divorce Papers
- Legal Custody Papers
- Insurance Policies
- A CD backup of computer files
- A list of household furnishings along with a CD of pictures to substantiate the list
- Pictures of family members and pets (for identification purposes) and finally,
20. BATTERY POWERED FANS: After a hurricane the weather is warm and the humidity can be high. A fan can help comfort in this time of stress.