I’ve been trying to write a post all day and I just can’t seem to find any of the right words. As everyone knows by now Hurricane Sandy absolutely decimated much of the Northeast and MidAtlantic. My area of NJ, just outside of Philadephia, didn’t get too much damage. We have widespread power outages. Mine was out for about 48 hours and I was really worried about how cold it was getting in my house for the kids. I could go on but the short version of this is that we were very lucky.
The longer story is that my parents, brother, and many people I grew up with live in Monmouth and Ocean counties in NJ. Those counties got destroyed. Almost everyone is without power, drinking water is problematic in some areas, houses were washed away or flooded, and hundreds of landmarks along the Jersey Shore are just….gone. They just aren’t there anymore. Seaside Heights where Don and I had one of our early dates is decimated. There are areas with four feet of sand on Ocean Ave. It’s just heartbreaking.
In a lot of ways this storm is the Northeastern version of Catrina. The damage is extreme, loss of life is starting to add up, and the overall impact to one of the most highly populated areas of the U.S. is extensive. This will easily be the most costly storm to hit the Northeast and it has the potential to be one of the top most costly storms to hit the US. My heart breaks every time I read a story or see a picture. This is my world. Catrina felt so far away at the time but this….this is my childhood. This is my state.
It’s been a while since I cried this hard for people I don’t know. I spent an hour yesterday sobbing when I was finally back online and looking at images. I’m still just so sad and in shock. It’s all so hard to process. I hope all of you who live on this coast are holding it together. I hope you have your families. I hope you have your home.
Watching NJ pull itself up and try to recover has made me realize one thing. I’ve spent so much of my life defending my choice to live in a state that many others think is terrible, or dirty, or overpopulated and expensive. Sandy made me realize that I’m proud to live here. I’m proud of where I grew up. Most importantly I’m proud of the people of NJ and their ability to drag themselves up and help each other. I’m proud of ability to stick together and clean it up and eventually rebuild all of it. I know many people say the people of NYC are tough and they are but quite frankly so are we. NJ people might just be the toughest I know and this storm is proving that fact every minute. I’m proud to live in this state, I’ll always be proud to be here. I don’t think I could ever imagine living anywhere else.
To those of you wondering how you can help there are a few ways. If you live in NJ get some things together and go donate them to help others who have lost their possessions and home. You can donate blood via the Red Cross. ABC News also has a good list of places where you can make donations to help those in need.