As seawater surged into her Marsh Harbour, Abaco, home one year ago, Victoria Hardy, 19, thought she was going to die.
Hurricane Dorian, a monster Category 5 storm, pummeled Abaco last September.
“It was a fight for survival,” Hardy told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.
Hardy recalled feeling sick.
“I remember blacking out,” she said.
“I heard my mother telling me to calm down. She put cold water on my face. I remember throwing up repeatedly. I didn’t eat anything so I was throwing up the lining of my stomach.”
With a shaky voice, Hardy said her mother looked hopeless.
“At one point, I was looking at my mommy,” she said.
“I remember her eyes being glassy. You know, as a parent your job is to protect your child at all costs. It really hurt a lot seeing her like that and knowing she could not do anything.”
Hurricane Dorian claimed the lives of at least 74 people and left hundreds missing.
During the eye of the storm, Hardy, along with her mother and six other relatives, were able to make it to her grandparents’ home in Central Pines, which was five minutes away.
She said the house had water almost everywhere.
“I sat in the closet because it was the only dry spot in the house,” Hardy said.
“It was pointless trying to stay dry. We were sitting in water for about three days.”
The survivor said she felt hopeless.
“I kept watching the roof lift up and go back down, lift up and go back down,” she said.
Hardy said she thought she would die.
“I told everyone we were not going to make it,” she said. “I had last messages in my phone in case the phone got service.”
But she outlasted the storm.
On her way back to Marsh Harbor, she said, the settlement was unrecognizable.
“We were walking and couldn’t figure out where we were. The water was to my waist. It was shades of red. It smelled like death.”
She added, “After the storm, the island just felt eerie. Even now, it feels like a stray dog without a home.”
After the storm, Hardy lived on New Providence for a short time, visited the US and returned home in January to bury her grandfather, who died earlier that month.
Although many Abaco residents are still rebuilding, she said she is thankful to be back in her home.
“When I got back…everything was back up,” Hardy said.
“I am so grateful for the progress. I feel the island itself has made progress in one year. Looking around, you see construction going on with people’s homes. The docks are being rebuilt.”
Although the process of rebuilding is no longer a concern for her, she said Dorian left her scarred for life.
“We walked through the valley and the shadows of death,” she said.
“It was nothing, but God.”