It took time to decide what my first blog would be after the dust had settled and the rebuilding had begun since Hurricane Ian. I have many topics that come to mind, but the first one should be a bit of a recap of my experience and the Islands as a whole.
My husband and I have lived between Sanibel and Captiva for 30-plus years and have evacuated for every hurricane. We have always taken them seriously and learned along the way that the path could change quickly. We knew this one had similarities to Hurricane Charlie in 2004 and prayed for the best as we evacuated to the East Coast of Florida.
We knew this would be catastrophic but had no idea of the reality until we got the news that the causeway to the Islands was damaged and non-accessible. We then began to wrap our heads around how the recovery would happen with no access other than by boat. But, miraculously, the repairs went faster than anyone ever expected, and the healing could begin.
My husband was able to make it over by boat when the search and rescue were complete and was able to get to work on saving the house. Fortunately, the structure was good, but the storm surge flooded almost everyone on the Island. The sand that came onto Captiva from the beach was equally as devastating.
Everyone has a story. Some lives were lost, and some homes were devastated beyond repair. All businesses were affected somehow, either temporarily or for good. But I know one thing for sure, Sanibel and Captiva Islands will be back and beautiful again! Just today, I videoed dolphins swimming by and an osprey eating a fish perched on the pole that his nest was on in my front yard. We will build him a new platform and look forward to seeing the babies again.
Just after the storm, we had initially heard that the Historic Sanibel lighthouse was gone, and we were heartbroken. We then found out that it had lost a leg and the foundation for the stairs, but it was still standing. The Sanibel lighthouse has stood since 1884. It is an iconic site for many visiting the Islands for the first time and is restoring now.
The shock of seeing your beautiful surroundings so devastated is massive and will stay with individuals for quite some time. But, as I have seen and talked to more people working to recover and rebuild, it is apparent to me that, like the lighthouse, we were all shaken but still standing. We are resilient, will recover, and will be more vital than ever as communities and individuals.
My affirmation for you this week is;
"I am strong, resilient, and indestructible and look forward to beautiful days ahead."