Seeing the storm ravaged shoreline of Fort Myers Beach and the washed out Sanibel Causeway, which cut off access of the island to the mainland, makes me have feelings. These are not just concern for those displaced and disrupted by the storm—and the families of those who perished in the storm—but my connection to the area.
In 1978 my mom and stepdad bought a pair of radio stations in Fort Myers and that became my vacation spot. I moved there and went to high school there. I visited a lot over the years as the kids were growing up. I still have friends there. Video of the storm surge makes me think of those I know.
My mom moved from Southwest Florida in November 2020 and has since passed, but my memories of the place and its destruction get mixed up with my own loss.
I remember the last major hurricane to hit the area and the daily calls from the second floor room about the community gym where she hunkered down with friends. Flooding, power, food, charged cell phones were all concerns. And the concern for possessions. And homes. That storm was mild compared to this one.
Loss. We can come back from the loss of things. They will rebuild the pier at the beach. Some houses will be rebuilt. But people lost do not come back. We only have their memories.