Last year this time I had no electricity. I was disconnected from family, friends and the entire world. I was on the road maneuvering around downed trees and power lines, searching for non-perishable food to feed my parents and myself as well as gas to feed my vehicle. Anxiety was starting to settle in; my gas gauge was at a quarter of a tank and I had no idea when the gas trucks would arrive. Darkness was descending and my Blackberry’s battery life was dwindling. It had been a long time since I had been frightened on Halloween. I felt as if I was starring in my own post-apocalyptic drama.
When Sandy hit the NYC-Metro area I, like many others, was ill-prepared. I heard the warnings but I didn’t take them seriously. I didn’t run out and stock up on canned goods, candles and water. This is NYC and New Jersey I thought, we’ll be fine. Around 8:30 that evening my home went dark. From my windows I watched the transformers blow one by one, sparking electric flashes of blue light. One by one I watched as the surrounding blocks and homes in my neighborhood lost the life source of the 21st century. As I stared into the candlelight illuminating my bedroom, wondering what time it was, I was suddenly humbled by the tremendous power of Mother Nature. Two days after Halloween, the lights in my house came back on and I was able to view the full devastation of what Sandy had left in her wake. I was thankful that Sandy only cost me a few days of inconvenience, but horrified and saddened to see and hear the stories of those who had lost everything.
As the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approached a feeling invaded the air, it was almost palpable. A year later and many of us have had the opportunity to go back to normal. For some the ghost of Sandy still lingers, still possessing a stranglehold on their lives. Recovery is slow going but I stand firm in the belief that those who were severely affected by the storm will receive the resources necessary to rebuild. One thing I know about this area is we may get knocked down, but we get back up better than before.