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One thousand ninety five days later….

One thousand ninety five days later….

“Do you remember when I called the hotel?” My neighbor Bonnie asked as we had dinner together a few weeks ago.

A sad smile appeared on my face. “How could I forget?”

It was the night before Superstorm Sandy was expected to hit New York. My husband and I had spent the entire day securing our home for the pending storm. Exhausted we went to Bonnie’s house for dinner. Other neighbors were there too. The wine was flowing, and we were laughing. It was a party atmosphere all around. Sure we all had the storm on our minds, but we didn’t take the warnings of its severity seriously. After all, we evacuated the year before for nothing. Why would we leave our home this time?

Every few minutes someone’s cell phone rung. All of our friends and family were frantically worried about us at the beach. Everyone thought we were nuts to want to stay. Everyone was urging us to leave. After Bonnie’s son called, she called a hotel in a neighboring beach community. In a funny voice, she asked if they had any rooms with a view available for tonight or tomorrow. They said they did, and we all laughed….

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How stupid were we?

Fortunately, our power was shut off the early the next morning, which prompted everyone to flee the beach. After all, on a good day, we’d flood without power. Even though we left, never in our wildest dreams did we expect the destruction that we’d return to. Never did it dawn on us that lives would change forever.

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One thousand ninety five days later, the fortunate ones like me and Bonnie, can laugh about what we went through. After all, when you are living in darkness for five weeks straight with no heat or hot water, during a frigid November, and working from dawn to dusk carting out your destroyed belongings you need to find some humor in your days. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to get through them.

IMAG0153Three years later, I can reflect back on the weeks that followed Superstorm Sandy and smile. Don’t get me wrong; by far it was the most difficult time of my life. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy. But a lot of good came out of Sandy as well…

Before the hurricane, I would stress over the silliest things.  Minor disturbances and challenges would make me crazy. Now I see them for what they are, nuisances.  All that really matters in life is the health and safety of yourself and those you love. If you have that you can get through anything.  Sandy made me stronger and Sandy taught me how wonderful and compassionate people can be, especially in a time of crisis.

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But like I said, I am one of the lucky ones…

Today is third year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. One thousand ninety five days later there are STILL people who are not yet back in their homes. Can you even imagine? Unless you live or visit one of the hardest hit beach communities, no one understands that people are still struggling to survive. There are so many people who only have a slab of concrete or a condemned structure to call home. I prayed last year that my Hurricane Sandy post would end differently, I hoped that I could say life for everyone was back to the new normal. Three years later, I really wonder if it ever will be…

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20 thoughts on “One thousand ninety five days later….

  1. How can it be 3 years? Wow. I remember it so clearly and I didn’t even live through it. So glad you were able to learn something from such a horrible time but certainly wish you didn’t have to go through it to begin with. Hugs.

    1. Beth Ann- yep.. I can’t believe it either… And I am so thankful for your support during the difficult time… Hugs back

  2. Hope you never have to go through this again in your lifetime. I know how difficult it was for everyone touched by this terrible storm

  3. I sure hope you never have to go through that again. It seems a lot more real when you hear it from someone who lived it firsthand opposed to hearing it on the news.

    1. Janine – thanks! I hope I never experience it again… And I hope no one else has to.. Unfortunately tragedies like these will continue. It really does make a difference when you hear about a storm (or anything) from someone who survived. Images on TV don’t do justice

  4. Hi Hilary
    I remember vividly when Sandy was approaching and you were chronicling what was happening. And the aftermath – well that is burned into my memory as well. I was so happy to know you were safe (I was already following your blog) but the photos and stories of destruction were unsettling and sad. Sometimes people never fully recover from a disaster. The 1989 earthquake in CA still affects so many who lived through it. The Oakland hills have never fully recovered from the 1991 firestorm – I heard someone say 1/3 rebuilt, 1/3 left and 1/3 are still wondering when it will all be fixed.
    But you are so right – when you survive a disaster of Sandy’s magnitude you clearly see through all the day to day pettiness and straight through to what is important – family, friends, community, health.
    Love Noodles

    1. Noodles – I remember you being “there” for me during the storm. I am sorry you were affected by the earthquake… It is so sad that these areas are never the same… But I guess the clarity a surviver gets is something special…

    1. Brian – I remember that too. When my mom told me you reached out to her on Facebook to ask about me – it meant the world to me. I felt so loved

  5. that’s awful that people are still suffering! what a disgrace — I imagine given the time that has passed, they are forgotten now. But that shouldn’t happen. Hopefully something like this never ever happens again.

    1. Rorybore – It is a disgrace and they only are sort of remembered on the anniversary of the storm. it breaks my heart!

  6. Nothing will ever be the same after a big storm like that and no, life won’t go back to “normal”. I can look around our neighborhood, 10+ years after Wilma hit here (which we fortunately left for) and while things look great they are not the same they used to be. Every year during hurricane season, I hope that we will get spared again. I’m starting to get a little worried that it’s been so long… because that’s when people get complacent and don’t prepare properly.

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