The Tree

The winter weather came a lot sooner in the season than usual. Especially for Charlotte. It has been a month since freezing rain, sleet, and a little snow fell from the heavy gray sky. At the time, my heart was hoping for snow, a December snow, what a lovely sight. Charlotte usually gets more ice than snow, at least that’s what I’ve found to be true in the three years I’ve been here.

That weekend, we got most of the winter weather on Saturday night and Sunday. The ice started to hang heavy on the trees by late Sunday afternoon. I found myself often eyeballing the trees in my yard, one in particular that has worried me.

Sundays are my favorite day. Even though I tell myself I’ll take it easy, I end up trying to be productive: cleaning, meal prepping, photography work, and of course in December, Christmas to-dos.

I was in the front part of my house, cranking through my to do list when I heard a very loud crack. I knew exactly what it was although I had never heard that sound before. As I moved myself to the window, I saw black pass in front of my eyes and found myself on the floor.

I knew exactly what had happened as I looked up to find a large tree branch through the wall of the guest bedroom.

Pain shot through the left side of my body as I saw it bleeding and red.

The next several hours were overwhelming. The fire department came and turned off my power and gas. They said I had to leave and posted a sign that the house was unsafe as they didn’t know what kind of damage the tree had made. The EMTs came and checked me out and told me what signs to look for if I should have internal injuries.

My sweet neighbors went into action: calling tree service companies, calling my insurance company, offering places for me to stay, bringing over food.

Because it was on a Sunday and late in the afternoon, we weren’t able to find a company to remove the tree and tarp the roof. The tree had gone through three different rooms and all the way through the roof into the living area. A large branch hung in my kitchen and guest bedroom.

Sunday night was rough as I heard the rain on the bf’s apartment, I knew my house was getting a lot of water damage. I tossed with worry. I had a couple of hours ago, barely held it together to throw things in two very large suitcases thinking I wouldn’t be able to come home for a while.

The worry started to settle in as I thought about all of the things that need to happen and questions I didn’t know would have answers. It was a scary place to be.

The next morning I woke up still overwhelmed with emotion.  I was sore on my left side and slowly lifted myself up. I was glad to be here. I was grateful. The firefighter told me if I had been a foot more to the left when the tree came through, I would’ve been killed. I knew it was a close call, but having someone else say it hits the brain a little harder.

I sat on the couch for a few minutes and did nothing. I needed the stillness. I felt frozen in stillness. After a few moments passed, I knew it was up to me to take action. I hadn’t heard from my insurance, and I could only keep thinking of how I needed to be my own advocate.

A dear friend had taught me the lesson of when feeling overwhelmed: take it one step at a time. Focus on one thing. That was my mindset in moving through the steps I needed to take next.

First thing: get the tree off of the house and get it tarped. That had to happen to help keep any further water coming in. With the help of my neighbor, I had two tree service companies there in a couple of hours to send me a quote. By 10:30a, I had one hired and at work.

Second thing: hire a general contractor and someone to remove the water damage. I called my insurance agent. I texted my real estate agent, Shelly Rydell, who I know has good connections. Shortly after lunch, a restoration company was at my house to quote for repairing the water damage. A few minutes after that my general contractor, Ike 360, was there. The contractor was able to see there was no damage to my electrical or gas lines. And as little as the words can be, for him to say “it’s not that bad of damage” was a song to my ears. Throughout the day, I felt the fear slowly fade more and the week after brought more good news.

I’ve been hanging tightly to faith and gratitude. I’m so thankful. That’s all I could keep saying. Things really could’ve been so much worse.

A month in and repairs have started….and continued. It’s a long process and my patience has been needing some work. Doesn’t it always. I could say I’ve been grateful this whole time, but I’ve had some really ugly moments. This past week has been wearing me down as I lived in plaster dust and concrete floors. Ivan hasn’t been handling the changes too well and it’s added to my frustration.

It really only takes three days for me to camp out in my bedroom until I can’t handle it anymore. Hahaha.

I found out a week ago that my hot water heater is bad and will need to be replaced. Nothing to do with the tree, of course. I found myself looking up at the ceiling, shoulders slumped, and sighing “whyyyyyyy” to the sky.

But it was this morning that I was reminded of what’s important during these time. My ugly times. My disappointment and frustration. It was this morning that I read a particular page in “Cultivate” by Lara Casey

“I have often complained during times of waiting. But I’m learning that we are always “in progress” – always in a state of growth. And growing means waiting.

It’s hard to be patient and trust in the unknown, but you can always trust an unknown future to a known and never-changing God. In the wait we are refined. Changed. Readied for whatever He has ahead for us. Times of waiting are times of ripening.”


Even though this has been a challenge to walk through, there are some exciting things I’m looking forward to like new, upgraded flooring and no more popcorn ceilings!!

The repairs will continue over the next couple of weeks and at the end of this, I’ll survive and it will all be ok. I’m sure I’m learning lessons in all and sanding out some much needed rough edges I’ve been carrying.

I’ll post “after” photos when it’s all done. Shiny new floors and new attitude.