I’ve been wanting to update, but with everything going on after Sandy, my mind has been completely preoccupied. I was away from home during the storm and it was heart wrenching. I wanted so, so badly to be home with my family. Instead, I was glued to the news station hundreds of miles away, clutching my incessantly buzzing cell phone to stay updated on the storm unfolding back home.
I cannot say it enough: we were really, really lucky. Within a day, I had heard back from all of my friends and family and that everyone was okay. Some without power, some with damage to their homes, but otherwise okay.
As I watched the influx of images on Twitter, Instagram, and TV, I wasn’t prepared for the sheer amount of destruction to my home state. I watched in awe as the cameras panned over the boardwalk in Seaside Heights. I spent every single summer there from the time I was a baby, until a year or so ago. I grew up there, along with so many other Jersey kids. I still can’t get over the image of the roller coaster just sitting in the ocean.
Same goes for Ocean City, Atlantic City, Sea Bright, Belmar, and Spring Lake. I have long-time family friends in Staten Island. Manhattan was home to me for quite some time. All these places that stored so many of my memories are gone. It’s like in addition to all of the pain and suffering and confusion of the realities of people simply not having homes to go back to, all of our memories have been displaced as well.
I keep watching the news in the hope that there’s an easy answer for help we can help fix this. I’ve already donated as much as I could, and signed up for some volunteer opportunities, but I want to be in there, a supporter for the strong people who are going through this, who are spending long and cold days cleaning out their homes, looking for a new start. Those people are an inspiration and I hope that our admiration helps get them through this.
I volunteered to help rebuild a home for a woman displaced by Katrina almost six years ago, and I still vividly remember committing to help while watching the devastation of the storm in New Orleans at the time. But these days, the damage is closer to home. And I’m equally committed this time. If all goes well, I’m hoping to take some time off from work to find opportunities to go down to the Shore and help, but also promise not to forget that we’re still going to be rebuilding not for months, but for years. I’m not the first to say this, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint.