Home > Storm Stories > Everything stood still…The Kasha Vater Story

The routine that you’ve become so accustomed to living, so happy to share with friends and family, so grateful for living, it stops. You spend hours a day trying to salvage any last remnants of it. Any of those little pieces that make you feel like you. But the tides are still moving, the frogs still croaking, the birds still flying and the mosquitos still biting.

Your shock might have already come and gone but for some, it stays. Lingers. Has no intention of leaving room in your mind to focus on important things. Wake up, drink water, feed the cat, feed the pooch, mop up water, patch the roof, call mom, check on friends, eat dinner, sleep, repeat. That shock takes over your brain, paralyzing you so that maybe, if you’re lucky, only half of those things get remembered.

When you start to neglect yourself however, the good starts to shower in. I’m talking Irma fucking showers. Of love, support, laughs, dinner, a shoulder to cry on, a buddy to drag your ass to the grocery store.

With that good, you start to realize that things are just fucking that. Things. Yes, some carry strong emotional attachment but maybe losing them strengthens the connection you had.

Either way, you begin to be grateful. For your life. For that dog breath in the morning. Maybe the half dead bird you cat thought was needed to spruce up the porch. The dinner that you throw together with your own island of misfit toys where everyone chips in and that makes it all the more delicious. The three ice cubes in your John Daly instead of a lukewarm glass. A bummed smoke that’s not your flavor but comes with a light and a smile. A good hug from your best friends. A place to charge your phone and Old School in the DVD player.

These things have happened to you the entire time you’ve been living your Caribbean dream only now, they’ve become that much more important to your general well being. Physically of course. More importantly though, mentally, emotionally.

Living on Water Island for over four years, I’ve experienced these social graces a plethora of times even without a Hurricane having torn through our little island we all call home.

This is the place that taught me that it’s completely okay to be who I am, unapologetically. To live my life by only one person’s rules, my own. To form relationships that are meaningful and lifelong. Allow myself to be vulnerable to new experiences, lessons, friendships, relationships.

Things that could have shattered the pre-Water Island Kasha to peices at the drop of a hat. While Water Island has now made me relish in any and all of those opportunities.

My heart breaks for the Water Island that was when I fell asleep on September 5th. My soul is crushed leaving my home.

Cue the water works, I know, but bear with me here.

This island, this family here, completely allowed me to come into my own. At my own pace. Through my own decisions, some better than others. With my self found strength. Through my wonderful and amazing friends who have become more of family members instead.

The home that I have on Water Island isn’t so much those concrete or wood structures with a roof, maybe half of one. Or the view from my deck. Or the feeling of being in Wonderland when you walk to the ferry dock while the Flamboyants are in bloom and the birds are out and the butterflies are everywhere.

No. It’s not those things I’m holding in my heart as home while I sit on the ferry to Puerto Rico with my Great Dane fighting back tears.

It’s the people I know. Those people I love. Those people who love me. Accept me. Encourage me. Tell me when I need to cut my shit. Let me know they’re proud of me.

That’s the home I have there. In the hearts of each and every person who’s lives have so graciously touched mine. Thank you all so much for making room in your hearts for me to nest in. My heart is almost ready to explode from all the love I have for you guys in mine.

I will miss you guys. I love you guys. I will be back you guys. Believe it.

-Kasha Vater