Sean left Aberdeen on August 6, 2005 and returned 642 days later on May 10, 2007.
The weekend before Sean came home Aberdeen received 9.12 inches of rain in 48 hours. Brown County, including Aberdeen, was declared a disaster area. Streets and homes were flooded. The school where I teach was closed for several days.
When the rain started on Saturday night my daughters came upstairs to tell me there was water running into the basement. We had frequently had some water leakage during heavy rain, so I was not surprised or alarmed. . . until I went downstairs. Water was rushing into the basement from under the walls. We worked quickly to haul things upstairs, set things up off the floor, and protect what we could. Our basement took on approximately three inches of water, but that was nothing compared to the devastation in neighborhoods all over town. More than 100 homes were condemned, and many more were deemed unliveable.
Over the next few days we worked endlessly trying to vacuum up the water and find new places to store our belongings. Sean's brother came to help remove the carpet and furniture which needed to be thrown out.
With my house looking like a refugee camp for misplaced items, Sean called on Thursday to say he was coming home. "When?" I asked. "I'm 30 minutes away." He said happily. So many emotions went through me at once. The house was a wreck, I hadn't showered and had been working on clean-up all day. I was tired, excited, nervous, and relieved all at once.
After driving for almost 11 hours Sean was exhausted as well. The kids and I waited anxiously for dad to arrive. When he came in, there were hugs, kisses, and tears. Sean was home! It was finally over!
And it was just beginning.