“Frankenstorm.” Meteorologists said it would come. We stocked up on batteries, water, groceries, etc., and did what we could to secure home and family. But did we really believe Hurricane Sandy would wreak such destruction on our state? And who is ever truly prepared for such a natural disaster?
In his public address immediately after the epic storm, Governor Christie spoke of New Jersey's sorrow and resilience. He could not have chosen better words.
Sorrow. Tons of it. So much of what we love about our Jersey shore has been washed away or severely damaged. My dad first brought us to the shore when we were kids; thus, it was a natural extension of my happy childhood to share the shore with my own children. Many of the things that created happy memories for us are now gone. I need not recount the losses; photographs, news stories, and anecdotal evidence speak volumes. For those of us who came to the Middletown/Atlantic Highlands area from Staten Island, the sorrow penetrates ever deeper. At this writing, 41 deaths have been reported in New York, many from Staten Island. The stories are heart-breaking.
Resilience. It's everywhere. Whether it's senior citizens of Tomaso Plaza using old fashioned coffee pots to heat coffee on a barbecue grill immediately after the storm, or neighbors on Knapp Circle in New Monmouth sharing one generator, or Middletown Township arranging a special Halloween celebration for the children, or St. Benedict and St. Clement churches (and more, no doubt) collecting clothing for the needy, or Petco on Route 35 in Middletown opening despite lack of power in order to provide for four legged and feathered community members...New Jersey residents are rallying around one another. As New Jersey's native son, Bon Jovi, so aptly said, “We don't have electricity, but we have power.” Kudos to Governor Christie for all he is doing. The big guy proved his metal and then some. Regardless of your opinion of our Governor, he personifies resilience.
Life in New Jersey goes on. I will not wax philosophical or offer “silver lining” platitudes. Such things have no purpose at this time. All I can do is assist the recovery efforts in any way I can and urge others to do the same. Most especially, I offer prayers for those most horrifically impacted by Sandy. And when the loss stirs our tears, please bear Governor Christie's words in mind: “We cannot permit that sorrow to replace the resilience that I know all New Jerseyans have.”