Heavy Heart

My heart is heavy today for my friend in Louisiana. We have been sisters in sorrow for many years, shadow mirrors of grief, since so many of our devastating losses occurred about the same time. My brother, her brother. Her mother, my father. My soul mate, her soul mate. One of the highlights of my recent cross country trip was finally getting to hug her for real after all the virtual hugs and tears we have shared. (This photo of azaleas was taken from her backyard.)

Now she is going through a time of hell that I can’t even imagine. Although her house is still dry, she is trapped because the roads all around are flooded, and if there were a problem, she has nowhere to go. Oddly, I am probably as close to a recent forest fire as she is close to the flooding, but except for smoke inhalation, no one I know was hurt in the fire. And almost everyone she knows has been horrendously affected by the floods.

One of her relatives died from a heart attack while being evacuated. Others have been flooded out. One friend lost everything — the water rushed in so fast, they had no time to grab anything. A niece was rescued by boat from her house, but the flooding has unmoored her modular home, and they are waiting for it to collapse. In certain areas, everyone she knows has suffered damage to their houses, in other areas, they have all lost their houses. One of her friends was stuck on an interstate overpass for nine hours after the road was closed on both ends because of flooding, and she had no way to get off because the exits were flooded, too. (She was finally airlifted out.) Caskets are popping up out of the ground in the cemetery where her loved ones are buried because of flooding, adding a surreal twist to the horror that is southern Louisiana.

Lives lost. Houses lost. Cars lost.

Who knew — hell is not fire. Or not just fire. It is water, too

In a recent post, I talked about the stomach-turning villains of a best-selling author. I have no interest in man-made evildoers created by a disturbed mind (because how can anyone who is well-adjusted come up with and embrace such ghastly characters and deeds). Nope. For me, sweet old Mother Nature, whose virtues people extol, is the worst fiend of all. No villain to pit one’s wits against, no one to capture or kill, simply a mindless force. Implacable. Unyielding. Deadly.

And still more rain predicted? Oh, my.


(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

4 Responses to “Heavy Heart”

  1. Paula Kaye Says:

    My brother lives in Livingston, Louisiana. Lots of water but not yet in his house. Prayers for your friend. I still love James Patterson . I don’t think he has an evil mind! But sweet Old Mother Nature can be a good villain in writing too!!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I don’t think he has an evil mind, either. But what does it say about people who have such thoughts, and not fleeting thoughts, but ones they cultivate. It is not easy to write depraved characters. You have to be able to know how they think. And if thoughts are important, what do those thoughts do to the thinker? It’s one reason I probably will never be a bestselling author. I can’t bear to have those thoughts in my head. Whatever it does to the writer can’t be good.

  2. Chuck and Heidi Thurston Says:

    I think writer’s writing about unsavory characters is akin to actors playing them. If the experience left either the writer or the actor scarred, Javier Bardem’s role as Anton Chigurh, the villain in Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country For Old Men” would have left both of them emotionally crippled. Neither seems to have suffered from the experience.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      And yet some writers do become emotionally scarred. Some have nervous breakdowns. Some are changed forever. Some drink. It makes me wonder about the ones who are not affected.

      But more to the point, I don’t want to write or read about such characters. I think they are dangerous.

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