HOUSTON, TX-- As life starts to get back to normal after Monday's storms, it's easy to imagine new carpet and insurance will fix everything. But the Houston area has lost something we'll never get back-- eight of our beloved residents.
Folks like Charles Odum, a Waller County school teacher who drove out to help his parents in the flood and never made it home.
Sunita Singh was a mom and oil & gas engineer, who drove into the 610 underpass at Westpark and didn't make it to the other side. Her husband calls this spot a death trap. And he's right. Both Claudia Melgar and devoted dad Suresh Talluri also lost their lives there in the flood.
And then there was Teri Rodriguez. She was a twin and mother of three, but so much more. Joseph Trevino was her cousin, but Teri treated him more like a brother. "One of the neighborhood kids bullied me and my cousin Ben," explains Jospeh, "and we told Teri. She was about 13 or 14. I remember some fisticuffs going on, but nobody messed with us after that."
Laughing, he adds, "She was always making sure that her family was taken care of." Especially her twin sister, Sheri, according to mom Vicki Trevino, "She could fight with her twin, but don't you touch her twin sister, 'cause that's her twin sister, you know? She'll protect her come hell of high water."
And that, she did. Sunday night around midnight, Teri drove over to Sheri's house just a block from her own to help with the flooding. While there, Teri had a seizure, something that had started happening to her in recent months. "Sheri tried to talk her out of leaving," says Joseph, "but about 30 minutes later, she said she felt great."
So Teri insisted on driving home. "We think maybe she became disoriented or still was disoriented," Jospeh adds. "You couldn't distinguish where the road ended and where the ditch started. And she made the left hand turn about 20 to 30 feet too soon and went straight into the bayou."
Her husband found out Monday morning, when he saw Teri's car being pulled from the bayou. "He was going to be going to work," explains Vicki, unable to hold back tears, "and as he started to go, he saw them taking that car (from the bayou), and he said, 'That's my wife's car.'"
Teri's family has started a GoFundMe page to help bury her. She had tried to get life insurance but couldn't because of the seizures.
And still, in the face of all this tragedy, Vicki offers comfort for all who lost loved ones in the flood, "When God wants you home, He'll take you."
And we, as a city, are left to grieve the loss.