My mom saw this on Facebook and I thought it should be shared here.

To my coastal comrades, please stay safe.

This is true. We didn’t lose our ENTIRE house in Ivan. But you see in places the roof came off and pictures we sent on were basically reciepts for the fact that everything was destroyed anyway by black toxic mold.

Yes. Toxic mold is going to happen if you get ANY kind of water damage at all.

Here’s something NO ONE teaches you in hurricane evacuation unless you’re in Hurricane Alley:

Take ANYTHING you possibly can that was handmade(think school art projects, gifts from friends of art you can take out of the frame, knitware from grandma), stuff inherited from a relative especially paperwork like marriage licenses and family bibles that hold your history and pictures that are non-digitized. If you have insurance you can rebuild and if you don’t you can find donations of additional clothing food even housing, though it will be a struggle I know. But let look here’s the thing.

Pieces of your history are the one thing, aside from your physical safety, you cannot replace. Trust me on this ok?

The Katrina people lost everything but I come to you as a multiple hurricane survivor who was displaced and made precariously housed on the homelessness scale twice by hurricanes in less than 20 years.

My first major evacuation was when I was 8 for Opal. My mom gave me a suitcase and sent me into my room and said “Go see what you want to bring that’s just yours. We can buy new toys and new clothes but we may not come back. What can’t we buy no matter how much we want to if the house is gone when we come back. See how I’m bringing these pictures of you and your sister and this that my mommy got me for my wedding? What is like that for you?” It was heavy shit to lay on an 8 year old but she was right … I don’t remember but it took more than six months to get back into our house in any real way and at 8 the toys I brought were THE comfort items and not much else and even then? I didn’t need for much because I had the irreplaceables.

Ivan gets lost because it was right before Katrina and was not a racist catastrophe but let me tell you: we never real moved back. Not really. Same situation- photos, letters, handmades, gifts from the dead, records. And this time we lost it all in slow motion.

These two major ones don’t count the fact that I had at least one(1) evacuation every two or so years after Opal until I was 25. After more than a dozen evacuations, you learn what to take.

Hear my experience where federal officials don’t listen to what Floridans have tried to teach.

If a storm is going to make landfall at a Category 3: You are facing a very real possibility that you might NEVER go home even if the building is still standing. Take what CANNOT be replaced. You don’t know how life will be when you return – the crises, stressors and obligations of hurricane aftermath create massive restrictions you cannot predict. You may not have a chance to replace it.

Please signal boost this with my addition attached because every time I hear a report about people lamenting how it’s the pictures they regret the most I just think “Someone should have told you. You deserved to be told as part of basic evacuation procedure.” I’m trying to post this to help fix that. At least a litt.