What would you do if you lost everything?
Former Sault resident Annette Paradis found out over the course of a year in a series of unfortunate events which began with last year's flooding in Alberta, exactly one year ago this Saturday.
“We have literally in the last year started over, like we were back in our 20’s,” laughs Paradis, now 53 years old.
Four days of rain led to a surge of water on the creek near the Millarville, Alberta home she was renting, washing it into the then-raging river.
“It became a houseboat, literally. The ground underneath it washed away and when it fell in it went down the creek like it was a houseboat around the one bend and the second bend is where it fell apart,” said Paradis.
Video of the house floating down the river was shared heavily on social media and in news reports of the flooding.
Paradis and her husband Mario Roux were able to save a few items, including their papers and electronics, but almost everything else was a write-off.
Roux managed to save most of his tools, which were in the separate garage that ended up staying on solid ground.
They temporarily moved in with her daughter in Calgary before settling in Okotoks, Alberta, but left soon after due to noise at night from the train that honked its horn four times a night.
“We went there with no sleep and left with even less sleep, I think,” said Paradis
Their next move, about three months after the flood, resulted in another tragedy as their remaining belongings were stolen in a break-in.
“We’ve had a challenge or two,” said Paradis, in what could be considered an understatement.
Now a year later Paradis and her husband are living back in Calgary near her daughter, son-in-law and 4-year-old granddaughter.
“We’re back settled, we’re living our life like we have to and we carry on,” Paradis said.
She is just now able to watch the video without breaking down.
“We came out with our lives, none of us was hurt. Everything we had were material things that are replaceable, to some extent. There are so many people in Alberta that are suffering still from the floods a year ago, they can’t get into their home or lost their home,” said Paradis.