First of all, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for all of your generous donations and support to my wife Laura, and our family. We are forever grateful. And although we certainly realize that no amount of money will save Laura's life, it has given us the freedom to put everyday concerns aside and just be together with our family. This is a gift I can never repay. We would trade every penny to keep Laura here with us longer.
Having grown up in the midwest I had no experience with hurricanes. I heard about them on the news now and then and sometimes saw the awful footage of the destruction they caused but because they were so far removed from where I lived they were never really on my mind. My first experience with hurricanes would change my life forever. I was living in Port Neches, Texas in 2005 and Hurricane Katrina was coming for New Orleans. My sister Patty and her daughters evacuated to our house and we watched the destruction unfold on tv. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. Luckily she lived in Destrehan where the damage was much less and she did not have flooding. They were able to go back home pretty quick. Within weeks of Katrina, Hurricane Rita came for Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. This was an ever stronger and larger hurricane than Katrina. It was unreal. We packed up the house, shut it all down, and evacuated to Patty's house in Destrehan. This was all like a movie to me. Very surreal. Within less than a month we endured two of the worst hurricanes in US history. I remember returning to Port Neches to see our house and area after the storm passed. It was like a war zone. Our home in Port Neches was on cinder blocks; half of them had been pushed down deep into the ground, so the house was bent crooked. All the door jams were off like an amusement park fun house. The huge tree in front of the house had fallen on the roof. It was a mess. After Katrina and Rita, I was now fully aware of hurricanes and the pain and destruction they cause. As the years went on living in Nederland, Texas we had so many hurricanes. I am told more than in the previous twenty years. It seemed like every year, at least once, we were packing and evacuating. Luckily for us, these storms never did the damage of Rita. In fact, most of these storms didn't do anything to our home or to our town. But we still packed up, locked the house down, and got ready for the worst because we knew what was possible. Most times we would come back home to the electricity still on, no damage, and almost a laughing sigh of relief.
This is what we're doing with Laura. We're praying for a miracle but preparing for the storm. We know what we've been told by the doctors and her poor health is an obvious reminder that things are not getting better, they're getting worse. She is in more pain as each day goes by. We have all of the conversations you never thought you'd have to have so soon in life. They're not fun conversations. Making out wills, end-of-life directives, wishes, and hopes for the future of the family. It's heavy. It brings on a feeling of hopelessness just like the weather forecast does when they tell you how bad this storm is going to be. So, we prepare. But I always remind Laura of the times when we locked down the house, packed up our belongings and family, and ran for the hills only to return to an undamaged home and everything ended up being fine. We weren't mad or upset that we prepared for no reason, we were thankful.
Luckily for me and my family, I am clean and sober today. I have the program and the steps. I have a wonderful sponsor who checks on me daily. I have my faith in my Higher Power who I choose to call God. I pray and meditate and exercise every day to keep my mind focused and grateful. I would be a mess and useless to Laura and my family if I was not in recovery today. It's like this beautiful program has been training me for this exact moment in my life. I play my guitar and I have been writing some songs as well.
So this is where we are today. We are making all the necessary decisions and provisions for the inevitable, but we continue to pray for a miracle that none of this will be necessary. It's not fun, but we try and laugh as much as possible and enjoy the sunshine. I know this comparison to a hurricane seems corny, but it makes sense in our heads and hearts. Just like when we evacuated, we have come together as a family and marriage. My job is to be Laura's husband. I am here to help her feel comfortable, safe, and at peace. I will make sure she isn't worried about a thing. I love her so much and I know she would do the same thing for me.
Thank you again, continued prayers are so welcome.
Peace, Love, Zito