DE SOTO, MO (KTVI) - It’s back to life as usual for many victims of mid-April’s heavy floods.
For one De Soto man, however, life after the flood will never be the same.
On April 18th, a nearby creek rose so high that the water came all the way up to the fence in front of Jim Brown’s home. Still, his flood damage is nothing compared to the real loss he suffered that day: losing his wife.
“This is her with our grandkids,” Brown says as he flips through photos of his wife, Nancy. The pictures are difficult to look at; she was the love of his life. “She was very kind, very considerate, she loved her kids,” he says, “and she got along well with everybody. It’s just so hard to realize she’s gone.”
The two were pen pals for years before they finally met. They married three days later. Brown recalls, “Her mom and dad said you’ll never last, my mom and dad said the same thing, you’ll never last. But we did, we showed ‘em.”
For decades, Brown stood by his wife’s side as she became wheelchair-bound and suffered from a respiratory illness. The day the flood hit, the two were evacuated and brought to a nearby Red Cross shelter. Soon, she noticed her hands turning blue. Brown explains, “They took her vital signs and her oxygen level was dropping fast. So they took her to the hospital.”
A few hours later, the 65 year old stopped breathing. “The doctor did state that it could’ve been nerves, or stress of the flood,” Jim says, “It’s just still hard to believe.”
It’s also hard to believe that the passing of his wife isn’t Brown’s only concern.
The floodwater filled his basement to the ceiling, ruining his furnace, washer and dryer.
After suffering the loss of his wife, Brown had no electricity for days, and still has no heat. Money has also been tight, but family and friends have been generous.
“There’s been a lady that came and bought me groceries, and gave me $100 to put on the funeral home bill, because I still owe the funeral home $1,900,” he says.
In another generous gesture, a local church gathered donations to buy him a brand new washer and dryer.
Despite the outpouring of support, the past few weeks have been a true test of human strength for the De Soto man. During this tough time, he could stay with relatives, but right now, Brown finds solace in solitude.
He explains, “I’d like to be by myself at this time. I just have so many things that I’m thinking about, after 41 years of married life, that’s a long time. We had a good life.”