The world came to a stop yesterday…REALLY???

Flooding in my neighborhood 8/11/2014

Flooding in my neighborhood 8/11/2014

By Kenneth Justice

~ Yesterday, everything in my world seemed upside down. Record rainfalls for where I live here in the Midwest (akin to an average day in the Costa Rican rainforest) flooded my community. Having visited the Rain Forest of Central America a LOT of times I’m used to massive rain storms, however, area sewers and drains here in the Midwest weren’t built for prolonged rain (it fell from morning to night) and soon they were at capacity and draining back into the streets.

Within hours of the sewer overflow the water was as deep as 4 feet on area roads. I had been hanging out at the local library, only a 15 minute walk to the house, but was forced to leave my car in the library parking lot and make the long trek home after I saw the roof of a Corvette that had been abandoned in the middle of the road, the rest of the car entirely submerged beneath the raging water and I didn’t want to take the chance of losing my car.

It was a few minutes before I left the library that a friend of mine texted me the national news that was buzzing through social media; “Robin Williams dead, appears to be suicide”.

It was a surreal night as I made the long trek back to the house. It took nearly an hour and a half to walk the half mile because most of the roads were impassable and I kept backtracking until I found streets where the water only came up to my waste. Helicopters buzzed overhead, the constant ambulance, police, and fire sirens were going off incessantly. Later I would learn that nearly every single expressway was entirely flooded and shut down in the Metro Area.

After a shower and clean clothes (my house is on the highest piece of land in my neighborhood and was entirely unaffected by the flooding four houses down in every direction) I stepped outside to see a stream of cars with their red blinking emergency lights lined up in every direction through my neighborhood. Travelers were stranded miles upon miles from their homes with no way to get back and hundreds of people walked in circles talking on their phones to loved ones, trying to figure out what to do for the night. Thankfully, by 9 PM the rain had stopped and the people whose cars weren’t stuck or floating away could sleep in their cars until police figured out evacuation routes for everyone to return home.

It was quite an evening last night and in the midst of all of it I thought about Robin Williams. The NEWS this morning is citing various sources close to him who are reporting that he has been severely depressed in recent months. A friend of mine worked for Williams many years ago and often told me of the drugs that were par for the course at the parties they attended.

Drugs, depression, whatever might be the avenue which led him to suicide; it’s a strange world that surrounds us. For some of us, we are merely trying to get home to eat dinner and take a shower. For others, we are living in war torn areas of Africa or the Middle East, where we must be ready to run to bomb shelters at any given moment when we hear the sirens go off. And for Robin Williams, a man who had more money and more opportunity than nearly all of us will ever see in our lifetime; he was simply looking for peace and relief from the emotions that flooded his thoughts.

What does it all mean? I’m not really sure. Perhaps you know. I guess I’ll think about it some more as I slowly sip my coffee this morning,


Categories: Culture & Society

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32 replies

  1. The flooding that swept your area the other day could easily be an apt metaphor for depression. Some people are able to withstand the onslaught of heavy sadness (rain) others need help (counseling/medication) when their storm drains are over filled and others find themselves stranded, without options as they watch their life seem to float away from them. Every challenge we face shapes us, every obstacle we overcome strips a part of us away and it’s not always a weak part that gets lost. Our environment is like a hammer and we are but malleable steel waiting to see if we will bend, break or be shaped into a stronger substance.

  2. Dobetteralways nailed it. I think there is a genetic component that makes some people less able to cope. Add that to whatever other genetic soup they were born with and it can be a life long struggle to survive.

  3. Sounds like you should’ve busted out with a canoe, lol. Meanwhile, it’s in the upper 90s here in so cal. This post reminds me that life is messy. I mean, growing up with very strict/religious parents, I remember how every time something bad happened, they’d chalk it up to an attack by “the enemy”, aka the devil. I never understood how they could think that, when they also believed that everything that happened was God’s will. Never made any sense to me. In my humble opinion, life is like eating a big spoonful of pie: there’s the crust, all the unpleasant, sad, disappointing (i.e., not sweet) things; there’s the filing, the mundane bulk of the everyday; the whipped cream on top, all the beautiful, sweet, wonderful things that happen in life. Every time when things around me start to feel crazy, like what’s going on, I have to remind myself that that’s just life. I’m sad for Robin Williams and his family (the only other celebrity I’ve been truly sad about was the death of Steve Irwin).

  4. Hmmm… what’s it all about? Relationships. How we treat each other in all conditions – a feeling of connectedness and purpose – in a flood – neighbors helping neighbors – in alcoholism – a community of like-minded others with a solution.

  5. Terrifying and awfull rainy day.
    I was lucky made it home right before the scary storm.
    Sorry you got stuck, soaked, frustrated but glad ur OK

  6. it’s a strange world that surrounds us. A world we our selves created. A world where we are to afraid to go back, and to busy with going forward.
    When it is the here and now we live in.

    Is it a crazy world or are we the ones being crazy.

  7. Yeah, most of our cities are not prepared for a flood of water like this (till your waist in water? wow)
    I thin we and our world are both crazy. Robin w. had a long standing problem with drugs – and depression go hand in hand. Very sad, because he had so much to live for.

  8. there’s a theory out there that an effect of global warming is that the jetstreams are slowing down and wiggling around less, and because weather fronts are often at the jetstream line, that these fronts are moving around slower. So a rainstorm that would have blown through in a few hours, now takes longer to move off, and droughts that may have been weeks in the past are now hanging around for months . . .

  9. Weather patterns are changing all over the world, that’s a fact and we will have to learn how to live (and our children and their children) with them. As for Robin Williams he was a great actor. His private life was more complex than the appearance he gave on the screen. Peace to his soul.

  10. It was so ironic that on a rainy day, a day that seemed to filled with darkness as I looked out the window, is the day we heard on the news that Robin Williams, someone who brought light to lives of millions, was no longer in this world.

  11. Sometimes I think natural forces reflect the universal thoughts of people within them. Torrential rains in various parts of the country reflect the deep sadness within Robin himself and continued rain reflects mourning the loss of a natural healer…a person capable of healing through laughter. After all, it is commonly known that laughter is the best medicine which makes Robin one great doctor. Fly free, Robin.

  12. There is no magic answer to the multitude of challenges some people face. Sometimes it hard to fathom why some people survive life’s worst tragedies and others die. The mind is far more powerful than we think. And when one screw loosens in that complex brain, it takes a highly skilled professional to find the cog that fails, and even harder to find a solution/treatment.

    Medication is not always the answer either.

    Depression isn’t confined to the desperate and lonely, the poor or the rich, the single or the family man/women. It’s something that can affect us all at some time or other in our lives.

    I think the hardest part is recognising that you can’t handle it alone. You need to reach out for help.

    But not everyone knows how to ask (for help).

    Hearing about Robyn Williams death was such a shock to all of us in many different countries. He presented such a warm, delightful, humorous face to the world and yet even someone as jovial as he, had their hidden demons.

    It takes a strong person to overcome addictions of any kind.

    On the other note, I hope the water subsides before long and everyone can reach their homes and loved ones safely. If the sewer system has been compromised, there’s no telling what disease and problems may arise.

    Keep safe Kenneth.

    • “it takes a strong person to overcome addictions of any kind”

      So true; when I worked as a counselor there wasn’t ever much rhyme or reason as to why some people overcame them and some didn’t

  13. Such a thought-provoking post (as I often find yours to be–and which is why I love to stop by.) So sorry to hear about the flooding in your neighborhood! Take care.

  14. Thanks for your heartfelt stories—they always add something interesting to my life. I have the opportunity today to nominate you for a Liebster Award and I do so with pleasure. If you want to accept the award, all the details are found here: In the meantime, happy posting!

  15. Bummer. It almost sounds like it would have been better to stay at the coffee shop, but I suppose you may have never made it home that night then. I remember the flood we had here, wading in waste deep water just to get to my car, people pushing cars that wouldn’t start to higher ground in a desperate attempt to save it. I was lucky to be home, at the time though…. and lucky to have a job that required me to wake up at 6am. If I had woke at 6:30, my car would be lost.

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