In March of 2005, I lost my best friend, my teacher, and one of the most beloved woman I have ever known. Most of you know her as Lorraine or “Lo” as her friends called her. As for me, I called her Mom. She was an incredible lady. My mother was an educator She taught mainly 5th and 6th Grade. Still to this day, I have so many acquaintances and friends that tell she was one the greatest School Teachers they ever had. My Mom was a very strict parent, yet she was also the life of every party. My mom was very talented and played the Oboe in school as well as a little bit of piano. She was not much of a church goer, but made sure I went to Church every Sunday as well as Catechism when I was a young man. My mom worked several jobs to help put me thru school along with the help of my grandmother. I never had a want for anything. I was on the verge of being a bit spoiled, but not overly. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about her. The only regret I have is I was not with her during her last few hours on this Earth. I’m still pretty mad at myself that I could not be with her. When I got the call from her that she he been rushed to the hospital, I was working with ESPN at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. She told me that she was dehydrated and only needed some IV fluids. I called Mom back several times while she was in the ER, but I kept getting a message form the Nurse that the doctors were in the room with her. After the 3rd call, I finally was able to speak with her Heart Doctor. He informed my mother had a major Heart Attack and would not make it until morning. I stayed in touch with the nurse in CCU. Unfortunately, my Mom passed at 4:45 AM on March 1st. I was about 5 hours too late. I regret it to this day. My heart sunk. I was not able to give her one last hug or kiss goodbye. Instead I was planning her funeral. I did honor all her last wishes, including brining her back to Church at Holy Name of Mary in Algiers, LA. This is where my mother was Baptized, made her 1st Communion, Confirmation and actually married my Dad on December 29th, 1957. She has been gone for 14 1/2 years now. As for me, she is only gone in flesh. She lives in my Heart each and every day. And yes, I have tears in my eyes as I am writing this in my Blog. It’s only natural. You definitely become an adult real quick once you lose both of your parents.
A few months later, On August 28th, 2005, a hurricane by the name of Katrina destroyed New Orleans. It wasn’t actually the hurricane that destroyed New Orleans but the storm surge, levy breaks and amount of rain that came in a short period of time. Hurricane Katrina was a Category 5 Storm that destroyed not only Louisiana, but Mississippi as well. It was extremely difficult to watch the city flood from all the broken Levies. The Corp of Engineers had failed New Orleans. They had no less than 4 or 5 major breaks and the city was flooding from all angles. It was a sad time for the City, More than 15oo people lost their lives and New Orleans proper had over $70 Billion Dollars of damage. To this day, some places still have never been knocked down and you can still see the number of deceased written on the brick. It was probably one of the saddest times for the City that was Famous for Jazz Music, Cajun Food as well as the New Orleans Saints. Several days before Katrina hit New Orleans, all of my family evacuated to different cities. My daughter , her husband , my grandson and my ex-wife, had decided to head North and West. They finally found a hotel in Dallas, TX, which was about 9 hours from New Orleans. What I forgot to mention is that my daughter was 9 months pregnant with her second son. Due to the Bariatric Pressure in New Orleans, she was past her due date. She finally gave birth in Dallas to a healthy baby boy. During this time, I swallowed a lot of my own pride and dug deep in my pocket financially to help the 5 of them with their hotel bills. I called in Points to a Marriott Residence Inn, which is an extended stay type of hotel complete with a Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room and this particular room had 2 bedrooms. The Staff at the hotel was amazing. My daughter was not the only one in the Storms way, They had 7 other Mom’s from the Louisiana area that had left ahead of the storm and found their way to this hotel. The news media got wind of how many pregnant ladies were staying at the hotel they had a Maternity Drive, which was announced on the local news. It was incredible that support that came from the people of Dallas. Everything from Newborn Diapers, Baby Food, Baby Clothes, Strollers, Car Seats and etc.. It was absolutely incredible. Actually, it seemed like the city of Dallas was having one of the biggest baby showers for all the ladies at that hotel. My daughter along with her new bundle of joy and the rest of the family, finally made their way back home to Covington, LA. As for her, she only had some minor wind, tree and roof damage. My Aunt & Uncle were not as fortunate. They came home to an absolute disaster. They lost everything from the storm. Anything that was at least 4-5 feet and below, had to be replaced including their roof and gutters. It was almost 4 weeks before they could even access the damage. The one thing I remember the most, was the amount of mold that crawled up the wall and destroyed the pictures. The power of standing water is devastating to say the least. It took almost 6-8 months before my Aunt and Uncle were able to live in their home again. Although I was not living in New Orleans or involved with the Hurricane in anyway shape or form, my nerves got the best of me. And yes, it seemed the more the City I called home was being destroyed, the more I placed food in my mouth. As a Compulsive Overeater and someone whom suffers from OCD, I was worried about not only my entire family, but the many friends I had that came home to nothing but loss and devastation. My nerves got the best of me and all I could think about was my best friend and comfort zone – FOOD!! Needless to say, as well as I had been doing to lose weight, I began to gain again. It was and has always been my weakest link. I loved Food and it loved me back – Gluttony is a sickness. I would never wish this disease on any one individual. Death by FOOD!!
Will to Live – Pride, Envy, and Greed – Part 49