We can’t imagine, but together we will heal

Published 7:10 pm Saturday, September 15, 2018

When taking in the events of an event so massive and catastrophic such as Hurricane Florence, the limitations of individual perspective become so clear. We may read stories of other’s experiences or see images on television, but no one person can easily wrap their head around the events of the past 72 hours.

No one newspaper, nor TV or radio station, could ever hope to tell all the stories generations of Beaufort County citizens will remember and tell of Hurricane Florence. Limited by our perspective, we cannot fully fathom what everyone else around us went through during the storm.

We can’t imagine the fear and uncertainty of those who fled their homes on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Headed inland to safe refuge, a safer location in county or perhaps housed in one of Beaufort County’s three designated shelters, each left their homes not knowing what they would find when they returned.

We can’t imagine the courage of those who went into the water, rather than away from it, all in hopes of rescuing those whose lives were in danger. We can’t understand the relief felt by those who were pulled to safety in the rescue boats.

We can’t imagine the life-altering events and painful emotions experienced by those who found their homes and businesses underwater, their sanctuaries and livelihoods taken by the river.

We can’t imagine the physical exhaustion of the men and women who sacrificed their safety for our own during the storm. The police, firefighters, EMTs, E-911 dispatchers, rescue personnel, electrical crews and responders from out of state each deserve a gratitude that we can never repay, and which they don’t expect.

We can’t imagine the experience of those in the Emergency Operations Center, monitoring dozens of situations and factors all at once, trying to determine the best response with the limited resources available, all while responding to a constant stream of questions from the media and the public.

We can’t imagine the plight of those on the Neuse and Cape Fear rivers, where the storm surge was far less forgiving than it was here at home.

The only ones who can truly understand these experiences are the ones who lived them. What we can imagine and understand, however, is the need that all of Beaufort County has now, in the aftermath.

Now is the time to help your neighbor — to clean up, rebuild and return to normal. Now is the time to exercise compassion and caring for those who are suffering in our community. At a time when our county has been devastated physically, let this also be a time when we become closer as a community, showing greater love for our neighbors than we ever have before.

As the chaos of Friday came to a close at the Beaufort County EOC, a simple post shared by Beaufort County Emergency Services perhaps said it best —“In the end, we will be stronger, we will be better, we will all be okay.”