My alarm went off this morning at what I like to refer to as dark o’clock. In the past, the hardest part of my day was making the decision to get out of my warm bed and head down to my kitchen to brew my coffee and feed my animals. I’ve complained long and loud about the injustice of waking up so early to teach my sleepy seniors in my first period class.
That ended on October 29, 2012.
This morning, just like every other morning since Hurricane Sandy made land in my part of the world, I found the sound of the alarm reassuring. Unlike two close friends who lost their homes to the storm, I woke up today in the same bed I’ve slept in for 16 years, turned on an old Mr. Coffee machine for my morning brew, and watched the news on my ratty old TV set. I’m not living with relatives, on the second floor of my house because the first floor was flooded, or in a shelter waiting for more permanent housing because my home was washed away.
I used to love driving over to the beach after school on Friday no matter what time of year especially at the end of a busy week. The sound of the waves, the vastness of the sea, the cries of the seagulls, and the company of others walking the boardwalk made a wonderful transition from workweek to weekend.
Today I drove over to the beach for the first time since the storm. Everything was gone. All that’s left is sand, construction equipment, and memories.
As I sat in my car next to what was once Silver Lake, I thought of how those of us who’ve settled into the “new normal” want to help our friends yet we struggle with the question of what to do. No amount of fundraising will bring their lives back. No amount of sympathy will build them a new house. I feel guilty that I still hear my own alarm clock in my own home 44 days after the storm.
I know you can rebuild a house, but how can you help a friend rebuild a home?
About the author: Laura is a mom, teacher, blogger, podcaster, and vegan living at the Jersey Shore. Follow her adventures on twitter and on her blog.