After the Flood Part II: ‘He had leukemia that went very, very bad’

WATCH: For one High River couple the floods wiping out their home wasn’t the worst thing they had to overcome. Jill Croteau has their story in part two of this Global special series.

CALGARY – Like many High River residents, Janet Klie and John Zryd lost their home in the June 2013 flood.

“It’s just so hard to revisit it,” said Klie.

“It was just this ugly brown muddy torrent water and it’s taken a long time to come to peace with that water. This wasn’t our house, this was our home, we put our heart and soul in this.”

If that wasn’t enough for the couple, they were also dealing with cancer.

“He had a type of leukemia that after the flood went very, very bad,” Klie recalled.

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High River residents John Zryd and Janet Klie lost their home in the June 2013 flood. Global News

She had only one option – to keep going no matter what.

“I couldn’t stop and think. If I stopped, I would crash. I had to be strong for our family to try and keep it together.”

Perseverance paid off: her husband fought, and recovered.

“I’ve changed mentally. I think it’s an appreciation of life,” said Zryd. “I have 80 per cent of my brain damaged, and it’s the good part of my brain shut down, and I can remember the trauma.”

And it’s those chaotic reminders that have so many only now realizing they need professional help.

“Our busiest time has been the past couple of months,” said Thalia Anderen, of the Calgary Counselling Centre.

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READ MORE: After the Flood Part 1 -High River family still homeless

The High River counsellor has seen it before, since she started her career a few months before 9/11.

“Initially there was not a lot of action with people who needed help,” she said. “It was in the months following we started to see more people presenting problems.”

If there’s any comfort for the couple, it’s knowing they’re not alone, and they have each other.

“You could say it was a love – it was tangible, and that’s why we’re so grateful to be in High River,” said Klie.

High River residents are still recovering, two years after the 2013 Alberta floods. Global News

With files from David Boushy

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