Sunday, August 18, 2013

KATRINA … remembered.

8 years ago this week my friend Karen and I were anxiously looking forward to our week in New Orleans. It would be a first for both of us and the B&B that we chose was smack in the center of town so we wouldn’t miss any of the charm and fun of the city. We’d even paid our down payment.

Of course it was never to be. The hurricane Katrina hit hard less than a week later and wreaked havoc on that lovely city and the surrounding areas. It was humbling to realize that we’d missed the disaster by a few days.

Less than a month later I came face to face with one of the victims of that day. Her name was Louise and she was at our small Tuesday noontime AA meeting.   She had literally lost everything and had called a friend in Pinehurst and asked if she could bunk in with her for a bit. Of course her friend agreed and also assured her that we had a good AA community here in Moore County.

From the minute we all met we were amazed at her positive attitude and her thankfulness at being a survivor. She never complained and before long she decided to do some volunteering and became a valuable member of the Red Cross organization in town. She even spoke to local groups...reliving her Katrina experience for their edification and helping to raise money for those remaining victims.

Her cheerful and humble persona was a great addition to our AA meetings and our lives were enriched by her presence. She attended 3 meetings a week and it never occurred to us that this wouldn’t continue for years. Then the unthinkable happened. Her cancer, which none of us knew she had, came out of remission.

The first half of her second year was spent with radiation and chemotherapy treatments and she became bald as a cue ball. She still attended her meetings and never once complained. Our little day to day misfortunes seemed to fade away in comparison as we watched her face each hurdle. She was our brave and beautiful AA Angel.

The time came when she could not drive anymore, but she insisted on making her meetings and all of us took turns getting her there. Barely 24 hours after her last meeting, she quietly passed away. She had literally blown into our lives on the winds of Katrina and she taught us acceptance, humility and an abiding love. Those of us who were lucky enough to have known her will be forever blessed.

We will never forget you, Louise


Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

What a beautiful story of an amazingly courageous woman. One we would all want to be like in the face of such hardship.
Wonderful tribute.

4:51 AM  
Blogger Vagabonde said...

It is hard to believe that Katrina was 8 years already. The time passes so quickly – thinking about it I would have said it was only 5 years ago. The story of Louise is beautifully told. What a brave and lovely person – I am sure you cherish her memory.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Grace-WorkinProgress said...

We never know who might be missing from our lives this time next year. I think of that when I get together with my friends.

It is human to take life for granted. We pretend that life will always be just as it is today. This is how we survive.

3:04 PM  
Blogger ellen said...

Dear Ginnie,
Very teary eyed here. What a lovely and brave woman. I can only hope that I would be as such. I like to think that she knows that you keep her in your heart and tell her courageous story to others.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

A lovely and moving tribute to a woman who affected lives in more ways then she might have known. Thanks for sharing because there are lessons here, Ginnie.

5:05 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

What a courageous and brave woman. We can learn a lot from people like her.

7:35 AM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

What a touching story about a wonderful person. I admire those that face life with such a positive view. I am not one of them unfortunately.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Beautiful post. Now Karen is remembered as well as Katrina.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

That was a terrible hurricane. I have read a lot about it. Thanks for sharing this story. I 'm glad that she had such a group of caring people to be with her.

7:14 AM  

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