Tia Kelly

love notes by tia… the blog.

texas forever.

I've never felt so helpless as I have this week.

A couple of days ago, I shared images of my parents’ home - a place I once lived in and even visited just a few weeks ago - as it was being destroyed as a result of Hurricane Harvey. In the midst of a panic attack, I deleted all traces of those pictures a few hours later. I wanted to erase this storm, it's damage and devastation, and the pain it's causing Texas. I needed the pain to be gone, as if deleting pictures would make Hurricane Harvey and it's destruction go away.

I've shared countless times that Philadelphia is the place that felt like home for many years, but in every story I've written and every chance I get, it's clear that Texas is the place that's always been home. Now, my home state is fractured and bruised, and this feeling hurts immensely. It was the most crippling feeling I've ever felt, that sense of helplessness from being 1,329 miles away from most of my family and not being able to see with my own eyes that they were safe. All I could do was watch and pray. For me, prayer is the best course of action, but still I felt like it was not enough and that guilt racked through me.

Every emotion one could feel, these past few days, I felt it. My parents lost their home. A cousin I grew up with passed away unrelated, yet unexpectedly in the midst of it. The images on television chronicling this crisis were everywhere paralyzingly me. It was all too much. I clicked a button to remove the picture of a kitchen with flood water up to the countertops. I clicked to remove the floating table my cousins and I exchanged stories about our youth for our kids to hear just last month. I clicked to erase the recliner submerged beneath water that my father sat in with my grandson, showing him pictures of me as a little girl. The picture of my parents’ view outside their second floor window while waiting for a boat to come rescue them… it had to go, too. My daughter and I just walked those streets, laughing and sharing our “adventure” on social media while giggling over random sounds that come out at night. Memories we shared. Memories we were losing. I felt this thing growing inside me that was dimming my light. As this dark, hurting feeling fully took hold, I closed myself off to the world and cried feeling helpless. Just helpless… worry no longer all I thought was consuming me. It was met by an outright fury and fear, anger and regret. This pain that had been brewing just as the storm was growing was all too much. It's too much for anyone. I can't even begin to imagine what those experiencing firsthand must feel.

I woke sometime later actually feeling the blood coursing through my veins reminding me that I'm a Texan through and through. Texas made me. Texas raised me. We are badass because it's simply in our DNA… ask any Texan - by birth or adopted by the Lone Star State. You just don't mess with us. Period. It was this stamp on my heart that reminded me that my state, my family, our families and friends may be down at this moment, but they are strong. Texas strong.

I love you, Texas.

You are my home. You are my heart. You are mine forever and my prayer for your continued strength and recovery will never cease.

I love you, Texas.

You may be hurting today, but you will be healed. We are Texas. We can never be defeated.

I love you, Texas.

Stay strong.


Texas strong. Texas forever.

Tia Kelly