One year ago, at this time, I laid in bed in total darkness. Terrified.
I am excellent at dwelling on the petty, nonsensical aspects of life. When it comes to big ticket things, such as Hurricane Sandy, I prefer to move on and forget the past. When people would speak about the storm I felt myself get tense, I would roll my eyes and think, let’s talk about
something anything else. In truth, it’s a discomfort with the uncomfortable. I’ve always been pretty good at some kind of running.
My point is- I didn’t want to write about Sandy tonight, but I feel as though I can’t ignore it. Part of my discomfort in discussing the storm is my feelings on how it affected people- I was affected by the storm, as were many other people. I will never utter the words, I completely understand where you’re coming from, because in truth, I can never understand what any person feels, even if our situations are similar. In some ways I may have even experienced survivor’s guilt- I would constantly rationalize to myself, it could have been worse. Be thankful. I’m not going to talk about personal loss. I just want to share images taken in the weeks following the storm.
This year I witnessed some things that were truly frightening- Marshall Law was declared on my city and a curfew was put in place. The kindest and most wonderful people posted signs outside of their homes, looters will be shot. People did take, and steal, and lie. I saw soccer moms fight while waiting in gas lines that stretched for hours, but what else was there to do but wait? Yes, there were selfish and shocking things occurring, but I also saw some of the most beautiful acts of kindness.
An entire high school football team, despite their own losses, went door to door to help gut the homes of those affected. A family took in another family of complete strangers after learning that the wife was five months pregnant and had already gone days without basic amenities. A friend who just got married lost her entire apartment in the storm. Friends and family reached out and were able to put together donations that would help her and her husband rebuild their lives. John and I were continuously offered a warm bed to sleep in, a hot shower, and a meal from co-workers, family, and friends. Groups of people from all over the United States traveled here for the sole purpose to help. The good far outweighed the bad. These are the memories that will stick out to me – people came together in a time of need.
Tonight after work I came home and went for a run. I finished in my best time, slightly over 18:00 for two miles. As I ran the boardwalk I acknowledged the beauty of rebuilding. It’s a process to rebuild- one that takes longer than one year, but it’s this gradual progress that exhibits strength. It warms my entire heart that I am part of a community that continues to stick together, a community that has not lost their pride, a community that continues to strive for the betterment of all.
Four days ago the boardwalk was finished in it’s entirety.