GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - It's hard to forget the images as flood waters took homes and lives across the state of South Carolina just six months ago. While progress has been made to rebuild what's been left behind, many are still dealing with the impact.
For the Andersons in Georgetown County, their home was literally underwater.
"The time the flood came in, it was about...right at four feet throughout the house," Neal Anderson said.
Photos from October that show the devastation almost look fake.
"At first I thought, this is impossible," Joyce Anderson said.
Water covered everything except the tops of their windows and the roof, and beneath the murky, dark water from the Black River was all they had owned.
"I was prepared for lightning and tornadoes and hurricanes and trees falling, you know, the house burning down, but never a flood," Neal Anderson said.
"It's just weird to think of the things you take for granted...and everything's gone," Joyce Anderson said.
They had left their home as water crept closer and closer, heavy rainfall leading to rising river level. They thought they would be able to return the following day. Instead, they were forced out of their home for months.
"We did not realize the extent we would have to go through and just rip out everything," Joyce Anderson said.
They've worked tirelessly since October to rebuild what was left behind.
"Constant work, cleaning, salvaging, just every day something else, something new comes up," Joyce Anderson said.
From flooring and cabinets to entire walls of sheetrock, it's been a day-to-day process to get their home back to a livable state.
"I get frustrated and I think will this ever be over, will we ever be back to where we were," Joyce Anderson said. "We will get there."
The Andersons say they did not have flood insurance before the water hit their home, so they've had to pay out of pocket for almost every repair.
They've spent more than $150,000 so far. At this rate, they say they could have bought or built a brand new house. They've found that saving what they once had has taken more than they could ever imagine.
"It's life-changing. You'll never forget it and hope you never have to go through it," Neal Anderson said. "You think...we'll just dry it out and move on. It's not quite that easy."
"People tell Neal and I they cannot believe how well we've taken this, and I can honestly tell you I cried one time," Joyce Anderson said. "But what good is it going to do...We just had to move forward."
Their work is far from over. The Andersons were hoping to be back in their home by March. But with each new day, they've come across new issues caused by the flood waters.
They are hoping May will finally be the month they are able to move back into their house on the river.
Learn more about Hearts and Hands Disaster Recovery, a non-profit organization providing long-term disaster case management throughout the state: http://www.heartsandhandsrecovery.org/