In a blog post from 2011, I called that fellowship 'The Fellowship of the Flood'. It's a club that you don't ever want to join. Membership is automatic when you have experienced a flood.
The fellowship is millions strong, and growing.
But, for those who are members of the Fellowship, you know that the experience of being in a flood never leaves you completely.
There are two groups of people you can talk to about your flood experiences.
Those who know.
And those who can't imagine.
I belong to several blogging support groups. One of the members of that support group lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Another blogger posted this video on Facebook. Her area was impacted by another "epic" flood earlier this year.
I can't imagine what her area is going through, because I know just enough (from personal experience) to know that I can't imagine. My flood was not their flood. But someone out on the street playing a piano does not surprise me at all, based on my own experiences.
That's the first thing to admit. You DON'T know what those in Louisiana are going through, unless you are there.
In September of 2011, after widespread flooding impacted many areas of our state, New York, I find (going through those posts) of my feeling of gratitude. That may or may not surprise you.
This September I plan to republish some of the posts, from September of 2011, to remind myself of how lucky I was.
It is hard to tell people how to support others who are going through a disaster of this magnitude, but just being there to listen is important.
There are some of the things you should know to do if you go through a flood.
And then there are the things people should and shouldn't do if you are moved to help.
Right now it's the everyday things people n the flood zones need. Clean drinking water. A place to wash your clothes. Oh, how I missed having a place to wash my clothes.
A place to feel human again.
What they don't need are flood tourists. If you aren't a trained helper, or belong to an organization that knows what they are doing, you will do those people a favor by staying home.
Meanwhile, those flooded look around and see life going on, and wonder when their lives will get better. You must know it will be a long process.
You may find you need professional help to move on. You should not hesitate to seek it. Even a year later. Even more than that later. It's not weakness.
For those not affected physically but want to help, this is my advice - be very careful, if you are moved to give for flood relief. Be careful who you give to. So many scammers out there.
With our changing climate, we must learn how to live with floods.
I fear this is only the beginning.