Hurricane Sandy has passed but the aftermath is something that all of us in NJ/NYC are still suffering through. I live in NJ and my husband works in NYC so we’ve been affected by the mess in both. It has been quite a surreal experience since we were all prepared for a bad storm but never expected anything like this. We were one lucky development that didn’t lose power while almost the whole town was dark. My parents and friends in the next town spent most of the week with us since it was too hard to stay in their homes without heat or power. We felt blessed to still have power and thought it only right to share that blessing with others.
Most of the stories I heard from other friends were similar. Anyone with power or even a generator was inviting friends and neighbors to share some heat and charge up their phones. At least this disaster was bringing out the best in most people. Though we did hear a few news reports of looting or people pulling out guns while waiting for gas on 3 hour lines, those were still the exceptions. Despite people’s frustrations, they continued to appreciate all the utility workers from our state and all around the country who came to help us get back up and running.
We braved the storm (or at least the aftermath) together and it made it more tolerable. Watching all the devastation along our precious shore line and seeing the flooding all over NYC was very painful. I’ve been a Jersey girl all my life and spent years working in and enjoying Manhattan as well. Thus all these images made me very emotional. So many landmarks washed away or crushed, not to mention all the lives lost and families displaced from their homes. It is tragic on so many levels and our hearts go out to those who have had to suffer so much more than we have due to the storm. It was hard to look away from all the images of homes destroyed and people being rescued by brave first responders. Though, having a full house of friends and family with us made it much better. We were able to chat and share our feelings and distract ourselves too. My kids enjoyed the week-long play date with their friends and their first sleep-over. No one wished for any of this and would have been thrilled if none of this had happened but the silver lining was the time we got to spend with friends, neighbors and family that we otherwise wouldn’t have had. I feel really bad for those who didn’t know anyone who they could camp out with. Though even our town had alerted us to a make-shift day shelter at the school where people could stay warm and use the internet and get hot coffee. Even strangers were kind during this time.
Now people are slowly getting power back and our house is back to just the four of us. Time to get back to normal, knowing that it may take months or years for others to do the same. Now that the fear of the storm is over, the sadness sets in. I have tears looking at the pictures of the beach towns that I enjoyed all my life. Though all the goodness I’ve seen in people reassures me that we can get through this hardship and rebuild. Even our governor who I rarely agree with has been a pillar of strength and someone I appreciate at this time. He and President Obama appropriately put their politics aside and are doing everything they can to help the people of the state get their lives back. All this cooperation from regular people and even politicians definitely inspires hope and pushes back my tears. Now I can get back to being Jersey Strong and Jersey Proud and feel good about humanity!