This is my journal entry from when I was in the Bahamas with my father, who was undergoing alternative treatments for his lung cancer. However, his brain cancer continued to grow, and he died October 23rd.
Saturday, Sept. 25th 1:48 pm – I am sitting here watching Jeanne roar through. I thank God that it is daylight, so I can see what is going on – this would be beyond terrifying at night. We lost power and water at 10:00 am (although we’d heard rumors that it would be cut off at 7:00 pm last night). The phone has been sporadic, but Gaylon (my husband) called 2X, and Kendall (my son) called once. I last spoke to Gaylon about an hour ago, and he said the eye was moving onto the east end of the island. At 10:00 am it was on top of Great Abaco – so it’s moving pretty fast. It had aslo intensified from a 106 mph Category 2 to a 115 mph Category 3 storm. It’s moving 15 mph, due West. It is blowing like nothing I’ve ever seen before, but I’m guessing it will get worse before it gets better. I don’t know if the eye will hit us dead-on or not, but I hope not. Best I can calculate, by 8 or 9 o’clock tonight we should be through the biggest and worst part of it.
There is a big blue tarp on the apartment building across from us, and miraculously it has not completely blown off – although I did see one piece break free and blow away. I can also see, from my bedroom window, pieces of our roof blowing off. So far, the sound of that tarp blowing around has been the most frightening sound. Every now and then I hear a loud crash, and know something has blown into one of the buildings. (As I write, some of that tarp has blown off – I expect it to be completely gone in an hour).
I am not as terrfied as I thought I would be, the waiting was terrible! However, as the wind intensifies, I may not feel so calm. And it does keep getting worse, no doubt about it. The fronds on the palm trees will occasionally blow straight up in the air – that is really freaky!
I can hear more things crashing around outside, so I can only guess the eye must be very near to us now. Daddy has taken his hearing aids out and laid down for a nap. He really can’t hear much, so that is a blessing for him. I know that if we have any water start coming in, it will be totally up to me to deal with it. he is still way too weak to be of any help at all, except moral support. I am praying that nothing blows in through a window. The wind just keeps getting stronger, even though that doesn’t seem possible.
I went to the store two days ago, and bought 11 gallons of water, so that’s a comfort to me. I also bought lots of canned foods like soup, tuna and beans – should be enough to get us through. They were 3 weeks without power after Frances – I just hope my sister can get in here Thursday, as scheduled, and that I can get out Friday. Florida is next on Jeanne’s hit list, so I hope to God that Gaylon will be able to get down there to pick me up. I am supposed to fly into Miami, but I’m sure that will be contingent on the damage sustained at both the Freeport airport and the Miami airport. And of course, I don’t know what I-95 will be like if this thing moves up the Florida coast. Today I will just try to not worry about anything but getting through this storm.
The wind is getting stronger still – I can’t begin to imagine a Category 4 or 5 storm! I had hoped that writing would distract me enough, but as the wind keeps getting stronger and fiercer, it is harder and harder to concentrate on this journal.
We have the back sliding glass door open about 9 inchess, and the windows in my bedroom cracked, lest it become a sauna in here, but I may have to close them any minute. —-Well, I just closed the glass door – the gusts are getting to be terrifying! I thank God again that it is daytime – I think this would be unbearable at night. It is 2:25 pm now – and the rain and wind are so fierce I no longer have much visibility, & can hear lots more stuff crashing around outside. This building is built of cement, & we are on the 2nd floor, so we should be fairly protected from flooding and roof damage – but it is still completely terrifying – and the noise is getting worse.
My consolation at this point is that it will not last forever – I keep reminding myself that on Grand Abaco they are surely already done with it. (I just saw a huge piece of plywood fly across the courtyard!) God is my strength & hope – I know that no matter how powerful this storm is – He is still more powerful & in control.
9:30 p.m. It has begun to seem to me that the wind will never quit howling – that the whole world is consumed by the monster fury of Jeanne. I found out around 4pm what those crashing sounds were that I kept hearing: windows exploding on the 3rd & 4th floors above us from the pressure! Some time around 4pm, Larry (another cancer patient staying in these apts.) beat on our door to tell us they were rescuing people from our building. Then I understood why the firetruck was here!
Around 3pm, I laid on my bed, exhausted, and dozed off, to be awakened by a horrendous crash, & I thought I felt the building shudder. Then a HUGE piece of tar paper blew down from the roof, & caught on the power line. Moments later, I thought I heard a helicopter, but knew that was impossible in such fierce winds. It turned out to be a firetruck.
Apparently, part of the roof had blown off of our bldg. Not a few shingles, mind you – the whole freaking roof! Then I understood what that white stuff was I’d been seeing blowing around – pieces of ceiling and wall! It was sheet rock! The police were here, & firemen, & a man in camo, who I assumed was military. Anyone who wanted to leave, could. A very nice man named Nathan, who lives here, came in & checked our windows to see if they had too much pressure, & if they were in danger of exploding. He said we were probably safe here, so we stayed. Daddy really didn’t want to leave. Nathan said that the worst of the storm was yet to come, & that it wasn’t supposed to blow out until around midnight. And it did indeed get much worse – and I hadn’t thought it was possible! It was terrifying beyond my ability to describe. It does seem to be abating, although there are still a lot of fierce gusts, and the howling never completely lets up. I am waiting for midnight, and praying to God that the worst will have passed by then.
We have a lot of water on the balcony, and a ton has come under the front door. I lost count of how many buckets I filled, & my hands ache from wringing out towels. It has gotten very muggy – and I sure as hell don’t look as fresh as Lauren Bacall did in "Key Largo"!
Daddy has taken a Melatonin, removed his hearing aids and gone to bed. I am waiting for midnight. The phone has been out since around 2pm – and I’ve used the water in the bucket to flush the toilet. I have my headphones ready – and my flashlight. I am using a Coleman lantern to write by.
All I know for sure is that I desperately want the wind to stop. If this thing has kept up its speed of 14 mph, it should have travelled at least 180 miles since 10:00 a.m. this morning, so surely it is almost gone now! So, by my best calculations (with the storm being 310 miles in diameter – according to the news before the power went out) there really should only be a couple of hours left, and it is now about 10:00 p.m. Twelve hours since the power went out – undoubtedly the longest day of my life.
Daddy has remained very calm- he is convinced God will take care of us. I believe that, too, but it is still terrifying. It is totally dark now – so I can’t see what’s flying around out there making all the crashing sounds. So I must trust in God! Or go crazy.
Daddy and I have had wonderful fellowship today – and that has been great – it really helped to keep me calm, too. But now, again, I am alone, and that is not good for me. I pray the power will come back on soon, but I doubt that I will happen before I leave on Friday. I definitely shoould have told my sister to come first! LOL
I won’t feel safe, though, until the wind quits blowing – I worry that something will come flying through one of the windows. Which is why I am afraid to sleep yet. I read in the Bible last night the verse where Jesus said "Who of you, by worrying, can add one minute to his life?" I know that’s true, and I know that if it is "my time" it won’t matter where I am or what I’m doing. God is still God, & He is in control. I must trust Him!
I am going to lay on the couch, and wait for midnight.