One year ago tonight, we were bracing for “the storm of the century.” We weren’t sure how seriously we should take it. We did what we were supposed to do, get extra water, batteries and candles, but never did we imagine what was coming our way! The storm hadn’t even arrived but school was already canceled and that never happened so we had an idea that something ominous was headed our way!! We woke in the morning and waited….
One year later, I have my days confused a bit, as we were without power for ten days. There are ten schools in our district and most of them were closed for days since there was no power or heat! As power returned, schools slowly began opening again but much of those ten days are a blur, with the days running together. We spent the first few nights at home, in the cold house but as it got colder and colder, I took the kids and went to stay with our aunt and uncle who live a few miles away. Out of our HUGE family, they were the only relatives in New Jersey who had power. At one point there were over twenty of us camping out at their house. It was almost like a party with all of us being together.
The storm knocked out power at my parent’s house and my mom, who was on oxygen 24 hours a day, could not stay there. Their cars were stuck in their garage with a huge tree down in their driveway. They called the fire department who came and got them out of the house and brought her to a hospital where she could be given the treatment that she needed. Those firemen went over and beyond that evening. My mom was not a small person. Trees were down at both ends of their street and they could not get their trucks to their house. They walked up the hill, went to their house and carried her out of the house and down the street and over the trees blocking their way, to get her into a waiting ambulance. True heroes.
We waited in gas lines that were hours long. Some house in our neighborhood suffered a lot of damage with trees falling on them but we were lucky to have sustained very little damage. Being without power for ten days seems miniscule when we compare it to the Jersey Shore which was destroyed and even one year later, is still rebuilding. New Jersey came together after that storm. “Jersey Strong,” was our motto. This evening, candles will light up areas of the shore in memory of what was lost.
Strangers came together during that storm to help out one another, proving that when times get tough, there is still goodness out there as people worked together to help others rebuild and move forward.