8777 Collins Avenue, Surfside Florida

This will be my last post for a while.

How long I cannot say.

As many of you who follow the news know, early Thursday morning came the horrifying news that a condominium building known as Champlain Towers South in Surfside and at 8777 Collins Avenue had a “partial” collapse.

I woke up at about 4 am that Thursday early morning, headed to the bathroom, and saw the news on my iPad.

The shock hit me first. I saw the picture they had on the news website, and I though the building looked familiar.

The shock turned to horror when I read the building that partially collapsed was Champlain Towers South.

I drove off to it, a knot in my stomach, to see what had happened.

My parents, you see, live there.

I lived and grew up there, between 1983 or so until I got married and moved out in 1994.

I called my sister and she talked to my other sister. Eventually, they all showed up at the Red Cross station on 93rd street and Collins. We couldn’t find out parents there and the knot in our stomachs was turning into terror.

When we finally had some idea of what the “partial” collapse involved, the entire north and east wing of the building, the section my parents lived in, that terror grew not the unimaginable.

Losing a parent is gut wrenching. Losing both parents, and all the stuff in the world they had with them, in a matter of seconds, is simply unimaginable.

And I’m trying my best to process that.

Yes, its still early. There might be a miracle and maybe one or both of them are found alive.

But I just… as much as I may wish that to happen, I just don’t see it.

Their apartment was on the ninth floor and faced the Atlantic Ocean. It was the last apartment, one of two, on the Far East side of the section that collapsed.

The view was beautiful, though for someone like me with fear of heights, I found it very difficult to walk the balcony and hadn’t done so in years. The apartment itself was a beautiful one, enough to house all of us -my parents and sisters- when we were living there.

My sisters and I eventually married and moved away but my parents never considered leaving the place, though my mother now and again looked around at real estate listings of homes. It was never a serious thing, more a curiosity, and that memory is even more painful given what happened.

My parents lived comfortably and were well past retirement age, yet my father continued working his business, with the help of my sisters and I.

My mother kept herself busy with her own things, visiting friends and planning to vacation and see her family in Europe after the whole COVID thing was over.

It’s still early and, as I said, a miracle could happen and one or both of them might be found alive.

But looking at the destruction, looking at the fall of the building…

I’m shaking at the thought and find it hard to type through the emotions.

It looks as if I’ve lost not just one but both of my parents to an absolutely indescribable, seemingly impossible event.

And today they say there are 159 others missing from the many other apartments that collapsed on that wing of the building.

My heart goes out to those people.

I feel their pain.

I’ll post again, I promise.

Just give me time to sort this tragedy out.