Archive for November, 2014

Two Year Anniversary And Still Sandy

November 5, 2014

by Florence Ondré

 

“I’d have a go bag ready, but she already got mine 2 yrs ago.”  is what I said out loud as I saw Liz Treston’s go bag photo posted on Facebook.

And, as I read my dear friend, Veronica’s posted anniversary words of wisdom and great heart, stating that she couldn’t participate in celebrations until her friend, Florence and everyone was back home, I was touched deeply, as I accepted the light she sends and asks for; knowing you all dear earth angels do surround, lift and uphold me in light..2 years ago,  today and going forward in a journey that is still longer than anyone expected.

Couldn’t do the lighted ceremony walk and standing tonight.

For me,  it would have been a schlepp and crawl… yet I thank my dear friend, Lori Stein, for taking my spirit with her; walking in light and love; carrying me in her heart and placing my ribbon on the boardwalk with hers.

Odd day…morning took me back to 2 years ago….looking out at the grey ocean, I remembered sandbagging til we couldn’t see day light then grabbing what we could carry, to evacuate to my son and daughter-in-law’s apartment on the 4th floor of their apartment building around the corner.

As much as my son was hurricane-prepared, we were all not one bit prepared for the magnitude of the disaster bearing down on us.

I’ll never forget thinking at night, ‘Ok we lived through the first high tide, now just one more and we’re home free.’

Then, seeing the tsunami size wall of water breaking the sea walls; rolling down my street, over my house and the neighborhood; bending light poles to the ground; sweeping vehicles along raging waters like paper boats; submerging them  and covering everything to blackout in the entire island, wiped out forever what slight hope there was for anything less than total devastation lingering in  our shocked minds and stunned hearts.

Watching exploding green transformers in the pitch dark; feeling winds and rain rocking our shelter of a 6 story building like a leggo tower and seeing fires grow like flower blossoms into ever bigger raging in homes in the canals, brought me to my knees as prayer died on my lips.

I don’t think I yet have the feeling back in me even as I remember.

It is weird how sunshine on water make me stop disconnectedly in my tracks and I’m discombobulated, like my grand children, by wind.

There is a wariness about weather and a tentativeness to living.

Maybe it is in large part because I am one of thousands still not home.  I feel the homelessness acutely in a deep ravine of sadness within me as at the same time I am grateful for the roof over my head, which I know is necessary shelter… but still not home.

My landlady and her sister have become dear family to me.  Yet I am still a stranger in a strange land.

I love that they understand with compassion and outrage that I have to go through a recovery that is not a recovery at all..but a challenge as high as the “Game Of Thrones’ winter wall.

Today I met three deadlines with minutes to spare.  Titan’s work. Man-made, hamstringing, keep-you-from-getting-back-home-or-surviving; working a cut throat game of keep-away with funds supposedly earmarked for survivor’s home rebuilds.

Duly filled out in proscribed forms, I sent all out on angels wings and marvel at myself for the miracle of getting my sight back just in the nick of time for me to bear another kind of brutality of Ocobert 29th….insurmountable mountains of paperwork, unimaginable feats of courage and endurance, and superhuman, lift-the-car-off-the-kid,where does it come from – strength.

People think I am a never-ending deep well of can do….sometimes I can/sometimes I cannot.

Today is a sci-fi conglomeration of both.

As the last ‘t’ is crossed &’ i’ dotted, I am grateful for my dear Tom, at my side then and now, who sits beside me and acknowledges with words what I haven’t been able to say out loud…”I want to feel like we should be celebrating something big but I just feel so exhausted & numb.”

I am once again , as always, appreciative that he speaks my heart and soul; knowing and showing continually that we are on the same page.  And I am grateful for his help with everything that gets thrown like tons of bricks at us.  I walk around sighing out loud with no explanation of the sighing. It’s like steam hissing out of my very cells of my weary worn body.

Sandy taught me to accept that I have no control over much outside my own self, and even that is not set in stone.  So, sometimes, I just lay down;  flattened and give myself over beyond 100 per cent and say the short form prayer….”Help.”

Today, grand daughter, Selia, had her first grade class trip to Schmitts farm and asked if I would go too.  I took those few precious hours off from paperwork mountain and thought, as I watched the children’s pure joy at learning how to pull radishes from the earth and green beans from their stems, ‘This is the perfect way to spend the second anniversary of the storm which changed us all forever… to be involved in life-giving simplicity.’

So,  instead of going to the rebuilt, multimillion dollar boardwalk, which I cannot seem to make friends with or the ocean which can rise up and knock the stuffings out of everything,  we took time off from work, so Selia could have both her Gramence and Grampy with her.

I’m glad we both were there today.  It seemed right in so much wrong.

And,  I am content at the end of the evening to have hugged and been hugged by my grand daughter and her classmates and happy in the company of good teachers and friendly, 6 year old, farmers who get delight out of the discovery of earth worms under radish leaves and run with free abandon to climb haystacks to slide down a curlicue tube; shrieking with delight… certainly not thinking of how scary 2 years ago was or how long so many could not be with their school or pals because they were displaced.

I drink in the energy of them as they pile onto the tractor and sip their juice boxes and hug sheep on this Autumn day which warmed to near summer temps….just to give us pleasure on a day which was anything but.

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