Today will be one full week since Hurricane Sandy barreled through the East Coast and changed lives forever. It will likely go down as the biggest storm to devastate our region. Given that case, it goes without saying that we are still recovering in the places that were devastated the most: the Rockaways, Staten Island, New Jersey, Coney Island, and my small town community of Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn. None of us were ready for the sheer brutality brought on by this storm.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that the New York City area has not been this shattered and distraught since 9/11. People are walking around like zombies here. Some volunteers and first responders haven’t been been home in days because they are just so inundated by the constant need for help from so many. Victims are still coming to grips with losing their family members and homes. Those less affected are dealing with immense financial loss and losing priceless family memories.
I am heartened by the millions of people who have reached out to all of us and I’m equally touched by the many emails and messages I have personally received from readers who just wanted to know we were OK.
We have no heat but power has been restored to us. Amazingly we are one of the handful of blocks in my neighborhood that has power. Thousands still don’t so while I can boil a pot of water to warm up the kitchen in the morning, so many can’t. Many of those are elderly and afraid to leave their cold homes because they think looters might come and take the last few things they have left.
And we can now shower, a thing that doesn’t seem as glorious until you don’t have any hot water. Being able to shower again was literally the highlight of this past week.
It has taken a week to go through everything that was lost in the basement. My husband went from depressed to angry every time he went down there and rummaged through memories that were gone. We saved as many photos as we could by drying them out before the colors ran into each other. I had an idea to dry any cherished papers that were semi-salvageable and then take a photo of them before they became rancid and crumpled. At least in that way, I can save a snapshot of the memory. I dried out three notebooks that I wrote in everyday when the kids were born about nothing really, just a daily paragraph about what we did that day and how they were growing. I’m going to retype them in a word document and then throw them out. The mix of sea water, sewage and who knows what is too damaging to keep. Some neighbors had fish in their homes washed in from the sea. Others, pounds of sand.
So it’s a full week later and if you turn on the TV, you’ll see newscasters and politicians say that things are getting better and back to normal, but they are not. Better, yes, a little everyday, but back-to-normal?