This past week I had planned to be in New York to spend four days and nights with my mother at a hotel where we would have spa services and go visit her family and friends together. Luggage was standing at the door and my alarm was set for 4:30 am so I could hop in the car and begin the 10 hour drive to Oceanside, NY and arrive to have dinner and a night with a close friend. I thought I’d do one last social media check before getting to sleep early and saw a posting from a friend (the mayor of a Westchester town), “If you don’t have to go out, stay off the roads!” That killed my sleepy-time plans.

I checked to see if there was a freak snowstorm or something. Maybe a pipe burst. No. it was remnants of a storm that was causing havoc with roads and sewers. Flooding was everywhere and it was scheduled to keep pouring down until well into Saturday when i would be arriving. Airports were shut down. Subway lines were closed due to flooding. The Metro-North railway was shut down out of Grand Central. I looked for news reports and saw rivers instead of streets and cars stuck or floating along in Brooklyn. I was meant to pass through Brooklyn and ride along the water towards Nassau County. On a normal day, I don’t even like driving in regular rain. This was incredible.

I started to think about all the plans that had kept changing and I had even told a friend that I felt like I wasn’t meant to take this trip at this time. I couldn’t have been more right. My gut was on target. I called my mother and told her that I couldn’t wait to make the decision because I needed to cancel the hotel or lose full payment for four nights stay. She said she would be too worried about me driving in that weather and suggested we postpone our time together.

I contacted everyone we were planning to see and heard stories of flooding in the home, the business. People had fallen. People were stressed. No one wanted to see me and mom anyway! So I stayed home and worked on my book (WHEN CAN WE TALK? A GUIDEBOOK FOR CAREGIVERS HOLDING DISCUSSIONS AROUND DIFFICULT TOPICS) which was due back at the publisher for printing.

Since that day, i have rescheduled the whole trip and found out that even more things had happened. For one, my mother fell and bruised her hip, back and hand. She would have been in no condition to go running all around with me visiting people. That made me feel less anxious about disappointing her. The friend I was staying with the first night of my trip fell and had flooding in her basement. The beach my family was to gather at to commemorate the death of my father was flooded and the entrances were shut off. Water was still pouring down from rooftops days later onto terraces and street below. The city was a mess.

The good news is that I was able to do some home organization work and I finished proofing the book so I can launch it in a few weeks. I am happy with the way I used my unexpected free time. I look forward to November/December when I’ll come back to town to see mom and we’ll have our spa day with my sister and sister-in-law, see my Uncle, visit with old friends and be able to enjoy the late fall/early winter weather. I’ll be doing presentations and book store signings on that trip.

Everything has a purpose and this whole adventure told me that my gut instincts are so important. Something was off and I felt it. I had myself tested for Covid. I took the car in for an oil change and inspection, tire rotation, filters, etc. I did everything I could to be safe. Turns out, the universe had other plans. At least I wasn’t already on the road!