.
News Alert
UPDATE: Father, Mother, Daughter Arrested In…

We Will Rise

A mom of two children with autism writes about how the storm affected her family, and how New Jersey will rise to recover.

 

It’s the eighth day after the storm. We remain dark, but still I see the light.

Both of my boys, my beautiful children, have autism. One struggles to make himself understood, and both have an almost religious adherence to routine. Despite their collective need for structure, my offspring have been absolutely amazing during Sandy.

My eldest, who is severely affected, has lost it only once. Ironically, it was last Monday at the height of the storm, where he picked up his shoes and dragged me to the door, regarding me with plaintive eyes and emitting cries begging me to leave. That, miraculously, was the most drama we had all week.

I am well aware that not all families in New Jersey with or without differently-abled kids fared so well. When we got out of our internet-barren house on Tuesday, I saw the pictures. I viewed entire towns razed by wind and sea.  Eventually I came to that now iconic photo of a roller coaster's remains, the very one that terrified me for years and enthralled my eldest son. 

I have to stop looking.

Some of the stories from the storm’s havoc have been heartbreaking. Sea Bright, the beach where I spent my youth, destroyed. Mantoloking, where no home was spared at least some structural damage, its bridge bay-submerged, devastated. Some homes on Long Beach Island, where my family once had a summer cottage, swept out to sea while still inhabited as Sandy exercised her wrath.

Residents of towns all up and down the Jersey shore and some throughout the state are displaced from their possessions, their pets, or the skeletal structure of what remains of their residences. They are the newly homeless, isolated and dispossessed, relying completely upon others for news of their houses or loved ones. Staying at shelters, or if lucky, with friends or relatives, theirs is now a profound disconnect to the world.

The wreckage is unfathomable.

And yet, during this week, when I’ve held my phone up to the kitchen window to access my two minutes on Facebook, I see that offers of assistance, safe lodging, or simply of solace, abound. This social network becomes the place where we receive our news, and it is filled with status updates offering showers, food, or simply a warm living room floor upon which to rest.

I witness people searching valiantly for rental homes for complete strangers. I watch as others lend helping hands to those with whom they’ve had contentious relationships in the past, old wounds buried, differences rendered catastrophe- irrelevant.

We will match those in need with those who can lend a helping hand. We will come to each others’ aid, politics and viewpoints be damned.

We are Jersey strong.  We will re-connect.

There are of course the more personal stories, the tales of the individual lives of family and friends. A neighbor’s mom whose first floor is flooded ceiling high, rendering her home uninhabitable. Another neighbor’s parent evacuated in chest-high water with rope and a prayer through freezing tides, barely purchasing higher ground in time.

Rumors fly of looting in Bay Head, JCP&L imposters, stolen generators in our town. A family of six with an autistic child searching for shelter. Thousands of families still blessed with a home, who still remain in the dark.

And yet, hope reigns. When I have access to the outside world I read about commitments by ten states to help repair our power stations. On one of our escapes to warmth we witness trucks from Virginia, Texas, and Michigan trekking across Route 195, intent on reconstructing cable and connections for our residents.

I devour a New York Times article already discussing the regrowth of Jersey’s playgrounds, such as Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant Beach, where for six years my sons have delighted in sun, sand, and surf. The Garden State will not be defeated.

We are Jersey strong. We will rebuild.

There is a benefit concert in New York that most of Monmouth, Ocean, and many other counties can’t see, a coming together of talent that raises twenty-three million for our beleaguered shores. Plans abound for fundraisers, school by school, business by business, town by town.

My own family is offered no less than a dozen sincere offers to stay, ranging from New Jersey and Pennsylvania to as far as Washington, DC. These offers came despite knowing that uprooting Justin would mean perhaps a week of sleepless nights for all, seven days of watching him truly suffer his own particular brand of disconnect.

Families with differently-abled kids remain online sharing resources and dispensing advice, or just as important, simply provide an understanding ear. Clearly, we are hurt. Also clearly, we care. Our communities, all of our wondrously distinct communities, are resilient. We will recover.

We are Jersey strong. We will rise.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kimberlee Rutan McCafferty November 12, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Hi Stacey, what a thoughtful idea. I am still friends with one of my son's EI therapists, she is going to call her office tomorrow. There's always POAC too, but not sure if they could disseminate the toys specifically to EI kids like that. I'll make some inquiries and get back to you. You did a great job!
Kimberlee Rutan McCafferty November 21, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Stacey, I don't want you to think I forgot about this. People are so busy right now, but I have two leads and should have some information for you after the holiday. At least one agency looks like a go, but I have to confirm. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Kim
Michelle R November 25, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Kim, Please let me know how I, too, can help. I am the Owner of ABA Therapy Billing Services in Brick, NJ and provide billing services solely for providers serving clients with ASD. My email is mrimmer@abatherapybilling.com Thank you!
shenhuang November 26, 2012 at 08:03 AM
Chinese parents send their children http://www.coachoutletonlinebd.com/ Coach Outlet Online to private U.S. high schools as a strategic decision to strengthen their candidacy for elite U.S. universities, http://www.guccibeltsoutletstores.net/ Gucci Belt Lin said. A growing number also want their children to lead happier lives rather than have them consumed by http://www.coachoutletonlinewo.com/ Coach Factory Outlet preparing for the gaokao in China the one-time, high-stakes national university entrance examination that http://www.guccibeltsoutletstores.net/ Gucci Belts is the sole determinant of admission.The factors driving mainland Chinese to study in the United States come into http://www.coachfactoryoutletpo.com/ Coach Factory Outlet play much earlier, Lin said, noting an influx of foreign Chinese students into private U.S. secondary http://www.coachoutletonlinefc.org/ Coach Outlet Online schools, starting around 2005.The goal of education in mainland China is to prepare you to take the gaokao. http://www.coachoutletwr.com/ Coach Online Outlet Everything else is secondary. In China, you would put the gaokao in the center.whereas...in American education, http://www.coachoutletloa.com/ Coach Factory Online you put the student in the center, and everything else serves the best interests of the student. It's not http://www.coachoutletonlineyu.net/ Coach Outlet Online exclusively about college.
Kimberlee Rutan McCafferty November 27, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Stacey, have left you a message on the message board, thanks! Kim

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »