Hurricane Matthew Devastation

I strive to be transparent in the blog, rather than using it as a highlight reel- as social media always is. I was in a life funk all last week.

Our home- and most of the Charleston area- was fine after Hurricane Matthew. However, the Pee Dee area where my family lives and where my job is located were hit especially hard. This was unexpected, as the forecasters predicted that areas west of I-95 would essentially have “a bad  thunderstorm”. I believed that, and so did many others. Yeah right!

My company’s office was closed on Monday, but as a remote employee, I still worked. Whenever the power is on at home, remote employees work, even if the office is closed. I worked especially hard to make sure communication was on point for clients and employees. My company is a great place to work, and I did not mind the extra work. I was fortunate I had power and could work comfortably.

Many of my coworkers, family members, and friends did not have power or water, and several had trees down in their neighborhoods that kept them from going to work when work resumed on Tuesday. Worse yet, a few coworkers homes are not uninhabitable due to flooding from Hurricane Matthew. A tree fell through my uncle’s home, but he can still live there.

I dealt with feelings of helplessness, as my parents and Clay’s parents suffered without power and with damage. Both sets of parents lost power on Saturday, October 8. Clay’s parents got power on Thursday (October 13) and mine got it on Saturday (October 15). Clay’s mom keeps children in her home, and I’m not sure how she managed to keep and entertain children with no electronics or power, but she’s a trooper.

On Thursday, I called my mom to update her on Clay’s PRK eye surgery. My mom and dad worked in the yard all day, then went to the American Red Cross shelter for a hot meal. Even though the green beans weren’t seasoned, she said the meal was good because they were hungry for hot food. At this point, it was Day 6 without power. My mom cried because she had to go to the charity for a hot meal.

As soon as I hung up the phone, I burst into tears. My parents live in Williamsburg County, which was especially hard hit by the storm. Williamsburg County is remote and has far fewer resources and much poverty. The American Red Cross and local churches did a lot for residents there, but the area was certainly forgotten by the press and publicity.

Meanwhile in Charleston, local gyms opened for non-members to take showers. No gyms exist in Williamsburg County, much less one to open for people in my parents’ situation who needed a hot shower (my parents showered at a family members’ home with power).

Posts from Charleston residents complained about shopping at Wal-Mart for supplies because other stores were closed. Walmart is a 2.5 mile run from my home. I can run there faster than my parents can drive to their nearest Walmart. I even saw Facebook posts from people complaining about how a Charleston-area pizza place was closed on Sunday when they wanted pizza. Needless to say, I unfollowed a lot of people on social media last week.

I’m sharing pictures of the damage today. I want others in blog reader land to see how bad it was in the Pee Dee, but I want to be able to look back on how terrible Hurricane Matthew was.

Plus, I want to always remember just how fortunate I am.













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23 Responses to Hurricane Matthew Devastation

  1. Hollie says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about this Amy. When I lived South, we had several hurricanes that caused a lot of damage so I know how crazy it can be. Thoughts and prayers with everyone involved.

  2. Elizabeth C. says:

    That’s very tragic. I’m so sorry to hear about your family and your co-workers. I’ll bet it was especially difficult because they didn’t expect to get hit so hard. Thinking of you and your family.

  3. I’m so sorry your parents and Clay’s parents had to go through that. 😦 Losing power freaking SUCKS when it’s for two hours… let alone several days!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thank you, Megan.

      I was without power for less than 24 hours, and that was bad enough. I’m grateful our freezer was safe (I did throw out ALL dairy products in the fridge though- wasn’t risking that).

  4. Thank you for posting this Amy. I knew PeeDee was hit but I didn’t know the extent of it until you told me! None of this was ever in the news ( I think there was a one line mention)or had any attention drawn to how much others were in need there. I’m glad your parents and in laws have power now and so very sorry they had to deal with the after math of Mathew. I’m just a phone call or text away if you need to vent. If your parents/in laws need some man power to help clean up Terry is available and willing to help!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thank you, Melissa. Now that it’s drying off, I think my parents have gotten most things done. There are churches and aid groups from other areas who are in the Pee Dee helping people do yard work, clean up, get trees off homes, etc. The venting on Sunday’s run definitely helped, too. That whole run made my day and probably my week, and it had nothing to do with the pace and distance and goals of the run. But running with you, climbing over that tree, seeing the NOBO runners/Fleet Feet, and the church usher who was cheering for me on my last 4 miles meant so much to me after last week.

  5. Angela says:

    Oh no! I didn’t realize how bad that area had been hit. I am glad that your family has finally had their resources restored. I hope everyone is doing well and things are turning around down south!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I believe everyone has power back now. A few people who were still without it got it back on Sunday. I did have some coworkers who just got cable/internet back on Monday, but most providers were giving free data on phones due to the storm (which was a GREAT idea).

  6. Thank you for being transparent with us. I had no clue how bad it was. I’m so sorry your family experienced this!! Horrible Matthew. And to those selfish people complaining…REALLY?!?! Our American culture has become so greedy and self-centered. We should be quick to offer aid to those in need. Not complain because of some dumb pizza withdrawal.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The people who wanted pizzas probably didn’t know how bad it was in other places, but for me… someone who saw the devastation on our drive back to Charleston… it really hurt my feelings to see that. The same goes for those who complained about having to shop at Walmart because they were the only place open the day before Matthew hit Charleston.

      I feel like most people are genuinely good people and don’t intend to hurt others with comments like that, but it makes me think about what I say and post, and sometimes, how much a little encouragement could really help someone- and just how petty my “problems” really are.

  7. Whoa, Amy I HAD NO IDEA. None. I had zero clue. I feel like a putz for being so ignorant. Thank you for sharing these photos and your story! I am SO glad you did. I love your heart.

  8. wanderwolf says:

    We are fortunate. Thank you for sharing.
    I was following the storm in nervous worry because my family lives in south Florida. The area got some flooding and power outages, but my family was spared.
    Still, I would never think to complain about small inconveniences to my life when others have their lives changed (or maybe even taken). I feel especially bad for the citizens of the Caribbean.
    But yeah, thank you for sharing! It’s a good reminder of the force of nature and how it should never be taken lightly.
    I’m sorry about the ordeal your parents went through, but they made it, can recover, and that’s what matters.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      You’re right. They are well on the way to getting everything fixed and cleaned up. None of them were physically hurt.

      Very glad your family was spared by Hurricane Matthew as well… that was a very strong storm. It hurts to think about those in places like Haiti who have so few resources and had no idea this storm was even coming.

  9. runner1313 says:

    My Mom was displaced for a week. When finally able to return to Hilton Head, she only had one tree down, and luckily not on the house. Lots and lots of debris and clean up, and under a boil water alert. Hilton Head sustained tremendous damage, and it will take months and months to return to some level of normalcy. Prayers to your family. Support them however you can.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’m glad your mom is okay and it sounds like her house was too. I hate this for HHI because it’s such a beautiful place! I have a good running friend who lives there and thankfully he is okay as well.

  10. mommyrunfaster says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing- it’s unfortunate that it was largely overlooked. I had no idea things were that bad. It’s so important to draw our attention to needs like this, as well as reminding us all how lucky we are. Hope everything is getting back to normal there!

  11. I’m so sorry, Amy. I can’t imagine how you must have been feeling to have your friends and family go through such rough conditions. I pray things are getting back to normal for them and the people around them.

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