Friday, November 16, 2012


The past few weeks have been like a bad dream. This is the same feeling I had after 9/11. The feeling that such bad things don't happen in my little corner of the world. Healthwise they have but nothing else that compares with that time or this. I feel a bit in shock. I rarely watch the news as it makes me feel sad and helpless. I have a cousin (my ex's cousin who decided to stay with me post divorce) who is stuck on Long Island. What a disaster they have been living in. No power until yesterday when they learned they only have it in a portion of their home. The bottom floor was destroyed along with all their possession that were on that floor. They were in a hotel, were kicked out (told the room had been reserved prior) and this Sunday will be staying in another hotel while the sheet rock in their home that is full of mold now gets replaced. She has a 9 year old son. They are still using a generator they were able to get about ten days ago. They sat in the dark and protected their home from looters. When they get it fixed they are thinking of going to California, where her husband was from and where she lived about ten years ago.

My mother has a couple staying with her, in the apartment attached to her house. He is the assistant minister at her church and someone who has been a faithful visitor to me while in the hospital despite the fact that I don't go to their church. He is married to a woman who was originally from Canada and a nurse. They are both about 70 years old. He purchased a laptop and we went over tonight to help him get it set up for my mother's wi fi. At his age he wasn't happy that he could only get a Windows 8 pc but he took it and Rob tried to help him navigate through it. Rob also helped him set up a printer. I was busy watching his wife painstakingly removed soaked pictures from an album. It was a lovely album she had made of her childhood. Most of the old photographs (such as her grandparents wedding photo) were one of a kind. She was placing them between paper towels to dry. With each photo she had written her memories or family stories. I was so touched reading them, especially the one where she was 8 and her father, a farmer, was killed in a tractor incident. Her story that accompanied it told of how her mother, now a widow with four children had to make do on $13 a week. She had just started piano lessons and her mother told her that she could continue with them. Only as an adult did she learn they were 50 cents each and realize what a sacrifice her mother had made. (Incidentally she plays the piano in her church and plays beautifully.) I could see the love in her face as she spoke of her mother and so gently handled the soggy photographs. This was difficult to see.

When you go into the grocery stores the shelves are once again stocked. I picked up  a free turkey today (I had spent $300 on groceries in November to qualify.) I'm not sure I'm up to preparing a turkey dinner. I know Rob who worked all last weekend and will work this Saturday is not. It's not that I'm not grateful. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that our home was not damaged (except for one window sill which became water logged and must be replaced.) I am grateful that we were able, with the help of a high school friend to locate a generator and that my son had cash on hand to lend us to get it. ATMS were not working and all things required cash. I just feel broken hearted for all these people who lost so much. It will be years before their lives return to normal. In the case of the people I have written about while FEMA has been there their homeowners insurance has not and nothing can be done until they come and make decisions. FEMA gave them rent money. My mother told them to put it towards things they need right now. They are looking for a more permanent rental as my mother has all her stuff in that apartment. They want their own place and in fact, there is some doubt whether or not their house can be salvaged at this point. How do you start over in your seventies? They used to have their grandchildren one weekend a month. They can't do that at my mother's as there just isn't room in the apartment. I wish I had answers. I wish I could give them a big fat check to help them. I can only listen and sympathize. It seems like so little.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I hope you and Rob have had a happy Christmas.

My New Year's comment is a few days late, but I'm wishing and praying for your improved health, and that you and Rob enjoy a peaceful and loving 2013.