Day seven post Sandy
As the television camera crews begin to fade from the front lines of devastation left by one of the most destructive storms to hit the Eastern Seaboard and the front page stories begin to lessen, the Hell that we are all living in remains front and center. Everywhere I turn, whether it be via social media, television (yes I am fortunate to have power), print media, talking with people or seeing the devastation with my own two eyes, the sadness and destruction are very real and depressing as the days go by. Kind of wish I could be the Jeanie in "I Dream of Jeanie" - cross my arms, nod my head, blink my eyes and it would all go back to the way it was. I have wondered many a time during this first week of Sandy's aftermath...how did the Katrina survivors do it?!
I was on the phone earlier today with my dad who lives in upstate NY. He asked me how things are going. My reply was something to the effect of "Believe everything you see on tv....and then multiply that ten fold." I described to him the sadness I feel when I see people throwing their possessions and memories to the curb....the helplessness I feel when friends text me pictures of how their houses now look...gutted and empty....the awfulness of how desparate people are - stealing from those who have or those can't get back to their homes that have been left wide open by the harrowing winds of Sandy. The long lines for gas - cars and people. The cold houses...dark and frigid as the temperatures drop...fires in the fireplaces for those who have them. The many people displaced - living this Hell in shelters.....some far from where their homes used to stand.
I am usually the person who is taking pictures to tell a story. I can't bring myself to take one single photo. I'm not so sure I want to capture this story.
But then....I told him about the surge of humanity that is taking place in our great state and the help we are getting from those who live hundreds of miles away. Among the feelings of frustration, there are many feelings of gratefulness and hope. As nasty as Sandy has been, she has given me the opportunity to open my heart and my home to those in need. It has warmed my heart to see the smiles on the faces of those who have come into my home out of the cold, eaten a hot meal, stayed the night, and have brought me their clothes that they have been wearing for days as they work to clear and sort through debris. My washing machine and dryer are spinning with love for all those who so desparately need it. My laundry efforts have been dubbed "Lynne's Laundry Service - drop and go or stay and chat - it's as simple as that".
As a school teacher, this whole idea of being out of school for this long is so surreal. I think of all of my students and their families...hoping that they are okay and that their "normal" returns to them soon. I will never be so happy to see my school building, my colleagues, and my students as the day I am able to return to my school. I actually miss getting up at 6 am and knowing what day it is!
And so...as night has fallen and the hum of generators and the sound of rescue sirens is beginning to lessen, I thank God for what and who I have around me and I am confident that our community, along with all of our shore communities, will rise up....Jersey Strong.