Hurricane Irma has come and gone. The TV news people and the weather group, plus all newspapers have covered the destruction and devastation of Hurricane "Irma". She was powerful and very damaging.
Here in our community building, there are about 50 residents who have some type of serious memory issues. Dementia is a common word that many understand or who have family or friends with dementia where it is well understood.
Because the hurricane was coming our way, family, friends, children plus pets came for the weekend to seek shelter and to be close to their loved ones.
Our community building is named Inspired Living at Bonita Springs, Fla. Because the bad weather was to hit on top of us, the staff and all who work here were asked to remain in the building for the entire weekend.
Our town, Bonita Springs, is located north of Naples and south of Ft. Myers in Southwest Florida: This is truly heaven on earth - except when the hurricanes come running our way.
On or about 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 10, all staff gave a clear sign that everyone should get a chair and head for the hallways: This act was completed in just a few minutes. With chairs against the wall, a plate with a sandwich, potato chips and juice was passed to everyone. We were along the hallway for about 3 1/2 hours. The storm hit above us on or about 5 p.m., September 10. All people in the building stayed in place until an all clear signal was given. Then about 7:45 p.m., safety was assured, that was loud and clear.
We could then return to our rooms which were pitch black dark. There was no electricity in the resident rooms. The hallways and other parts of the building were covered by the click of the generator - giving lights to see as you moved to the dining room without a problem.
The nurse gave me a small but potent and powerful flashlight. This small handheld object was a life saver. I do thank her very much for her kindness.
Earlier in the day, the very capable lady in charge of this community needed some spiritual support. I asked her to have a seat by me just for a few minutes. I held her hand and said to her, "I want to quote a short poem to you that I learned when I was 10 years old." It was as if it were a prayer.
"I met God in the morning when my day was at its best,
And His presence came like sunrise what a glory in my best,
All day long, His presence lingered
All day long, His presence stayed with me
And we sailed in perfect calmness
Over a very troubled sea.
Now I think I know the secret learned from many a troubled way,
You must seek God in the morning
If you want Him through the day."
We hugged and she went on about her very busy schedule.
On a positive note, there are a couple of things I learned to do in the dark.
1. Brush my teeth;
2. Put on my GI VA stockings that are skin tight;
3. Put batteries into my hearing aids.
My next step is to learn to dance in the dark. I know that would be fun.
Because we all followed directions, I want to compliment the staff with the highest marks known to man on this report card. I would certainly give a huge A+ to Mrs. "Big" (the executive director) who deserves a golden crown. I take my hat off to the entire staff at Inspired Living for the love and kindness shown especially over the hurricane weekend. As I write this, lights are not on indoors, however there is light in the hearts of the staff. The power company placed our building on top priority.
In Genesis 1v3, God said “Let there be light - and there was light.” God illuminated the world. In Florida, there were 600,000 without power and lights. Our lights were out only three days - praise the Lord. All is back to normal and we do give thanks to the Lord.
Our memory of Hurricane Irma will be stored away.
Walter Redden wrote a regular column for the Northside Sun for many years. He and his wife Annette now live in Bonita Springs, Fla.