Vulnerable and Trapped: A Look at Those Lost in Hurricane Ian
When Irma hit in August 2017, it took me away from my family, friends, and livelihood. I was trapped in my hometown of Orlando, Florida, with no way of getting back home. My husband Chris and I had spent the better part of a year going through a divorce. As I tried to process what had happened, Chris would constantly remind me of the simple fact that we were not that different in how we dealt with it. He always said to me, “Everything happens for a reason.”
Our relationship was not new. It started in high school when our parents first met when we were both freshmen at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. Our families had known each other for years, and I had grown up with my parents’ exuberant home-cooked meals, and the two of them were always very close, even though their relationship had always been rocky.
My parents never really told us much about how they fell in love, but as a teenager, I remember watching them holding hands in the kitchen for years, and my dad telling our mom that they were perfect for each other. Years later, I would find out that my father’s first wife, who was pregnant and carrying my grandfather’s child, was killed in a car accident when I was six years old. She was a beautiful, elegant woman with a vibrant laugh and a quick wit. I always believed that my dad’s first wife was beautiful, and that she died because she could not deal with my grandmother’s life, her alcohol addiction, and her son’s drinking problems.
The story of my father’s second marriage is a different story. It’s important to know that he met my mother during the same two years that she attended the University of Chicago. She was a cheerleader and had a great sense of humor. My dad, who had been divorced from his first wife, was a very conservative man. He liked things to be neat and orderly, but he didn’t like women who drank. My dad was against the idea of relationships with women, because he saw it as an easy route to impregnation.
By their early teens