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Grasping Their Grief

2012 November 2

My family and I are among the lucky ones.  Hurricane Sandy didn’t wreck havoc on our lives.  Aside from a few hours without power, none of us lost our property. More importantly, we survived.

Just a few miles away, communities are devastated.  A tightly knit beach town of working-class people, called Breezy Point, is no longer.  It is not alone. The cruel winds and water took away home after home, all over New York and New Jersey, scattering, demolishing and burying the possessions that defined their owners.

My friend, Hane, spotted this old record when she was helping to clean up in Staten Island, after the hurricane. Look closely at the title: "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." Some things are too eerie for words.

But possessions—whether they’re photos and papers, chairs and sofas, or coats and jewelry—are only possessions. They can be replaced.  Northeasterners are resilient and resourceful.  It is inspiring to see and hear how many of Sandy’s victims are coping. How neighbors are helping neighbors. They don’t have time for tears and grief. Millions also have been without power for days, but they are using the power within themselves to propel them ahead.

As of last count, 53 people are dead in the tri-state area. I can’t stop thinking about the two brothers—two and four years old—literally torn from their mother’s arms by a sudden rush of water. Their little bodies were found days later, after an exhaustive search.

It is hard enough to think about the fear that engulfed those little boys.  It is impossible to grasp their mother’s anguish. The cruelty that can befall man and woman is inexplicable.

 

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  • Lisa Porter says:

    Dear Geri,
    This is all so very hard to grasp. In my life I’ve never directly experienced such devastation or an unthinkable loss such as this. My heart goes out to all who have been affected and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.
    Take care.
    Lisa

  • Deborah Shade says:

    Dear Geri,
    Our hearts go out to you. I just said to a friend that I would not even begin to know how to pick up the pieces after such a nightmare and now the snow. I’m not sure how I could handle it. Now we have all made donations to the Red Cross and donated items. But I live just a few hours from the area and we were not harmed. We could come help people but we don’t know where to help. What can we come do and where? Who do we contact to physically help?

  • Cecile Wheatley says:

    My family and I lived in New Jersey -fifteen minutes from the GW bridge- for 25 years,,, so we have many friends in the New York Metro area. NEVER in all those years -with the exception of Gloria and that was nothing- did we witness a hurricane. I am speechless at the devastation Sandy caused in my Garden State… I feel my eyes fill with tears when I see the pictures of Long Beach Island, and all towns which we knew well, not to mention my Big Apple!! I love NY/NJ and I feel so sad…. I wish I could put my arms around everybody in the tri-State area… And now all this awful snow… Oh Lord!

  • karen says:

    Like you we did not experience any loss but have friends and co workers who did. You begin to feel guilty to come home to warmth and your things. We need to keep giving back over the next months as this will take so much time to repair.

  • Kathleen Byrne says:

    My heart is broken. I moved to Western North Carolina from the North East. We lived in Manhattan but owned a summer cottage in New Dorp Beach, it is gone, but not my memories of the wonderful time at the Beach. Most of our family lived in Hoboken, I could not believe the flooding there. I lived near the Mantaloking Bridge that was washed away. I think my old house is gone. My daughter has had no power since the storm . My sister house is flooded. What makes me made is that we American are so good and caring when other countries need help, I haven’t heard of any aid coming our way. I was listening to some of the newscaster and they were saying FEMA should had some thing in place. They knew this storm was going to be bad. The worst was seeing pallets of water for the marathon and watch little children drinking out of fire hydrants.

  • catherine davis says:

    Being born in WPB in ’49, I am an experienced hurricane survivor but nothing EVER of this magnitude. The horrific damage done by Sandy is heartbreaking to just look at, much less have lived through. My heart goes out to each and everyone of these poor unfortuate people who have lost their homes, belongings, and/or loved ones. I just can’t imagine their pain and suffering and they are in my prayers and thoughts each and everyday.