In the summer of 2002 my family moved to south Texas. My husband was working across the border in Mexico everyday. Our daughter was about to turn 3, and I was very pregnant with our first son. The news was full of reports of potential dirty bomb attacks and I was anxious and unsettled (and looking back, probably very hormonal), and I felt constant uneasiness. I remembered the scripture in Doctrine & Covenants 38:30 that reads, “but if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” I took it to heart and realized that in order to quell my fear I needed to do something, to actively engage in a project. That’s when I built my first 72 hr kit. It was bulky and did require a Little Tikes wagon to transport, but hey, it was a start.
Since then my preparedness efforts have waxed and waned depending on our situation. Small living spaces and a student budget weren’t particularly conducive to food storage when we were living in Boston for graduate school. But then the time came when we decided to move back to California – the state where we had been living on Sept 11, 2001.
At that time we had been in process of moving out of California to Pennsylvania. My husband was already working in Pennsylvania and was scheduled to fly home the evening of Sept 11th. Of course he didn’t make it back to California that night. The movers were coming the very next day to pack up our house and ship out our cars. Our daughter was 2 years old and had no comprehension of the events of the day, but wanted to watch the footage over and over again – she found it exciting, like it was a fireworks display. I, however, was almost in a panic, trying to reconcile just how much our world had changed that morning and how my sense of peace and security were completely wiped out, all while trying to figure out how I was going to accomplish my husband’s extensive honey-do list before the movers came. Thankfully there was a young couple in our ward (church congregation) - the husband had been sent home from his job in one of the downtown L.A. towers, and the wife was my daughter’s nursery leader. Thanks to them, we didn’t have to spend that awful day alone, AND we were fully ready when the movers came the next morning.
The idea of moving back to California unleashed many of the feelings I had tried to bury after that experience - feelings of helplessness and isolation - and so once settled back in the Golden State I jumped into emergency preparedness and food storage as a way to reduce the possibility of having to feel that way again.
We’ve been back here almost 6 years now. We’ve got a couple more kids, a year+ supply of food, 2+ months of water, and paper goods and personal supplies galore. Our yard is full of fruit trees and I’ve got a healthy little garden. We’re also focusing on preparing our bodies to withstand the physical and psychological struggles a disaster would bring. While I’m still nervous that there’s so much to do, and so little time in which to do it all, I’m confident that my efforts to prepare myself and my family will never go to waste.
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