If I go back in my mind to a few weeks ago, things were going pretty well. My mother, who has osteoporosis and COPD, was doing better. My sister and I have been trading off caring for her, getting her to doctor’s appointments, setting up a support system for her physical and mental health for the approaching winter season. Then Sandy started up the East Coast.
I arrived to take her to a doctor’s appointment, and ended up evacuating her one day before Sandy hit. As any 82 year old using a walker might move slowly, it took patience to wait for her to get packed, gather her medications, and get into the car. I spent 10 days with her and my 16 year old son, who is the real hero of that 10 days, for keeping us sane and laughing.
It was difficult, not knowing how bad it was, not knowing how my mother’s health would hold up, when we could go see her home, which she has owned since 1959, or if she could go home anytime soon. On November 5th, we got to go see and deal with the facts, which is what I do… but this time, it wasn’t anything I was ready to deal with. The ocean, bay, sewage and rain had converged and had invaded part of the property to toss and soak furniture, books, lifelong treasures and change the future of my family. There was no way to be prepared for it. It sucked the life from me for a brief moment and then I had to care for my mother.
Now, we’re about to move my mother for the third time. My sister and I have been back and forth from our homes to NJ several times over the past few weeks. There is an endless mass of change, where is the mail delivery, where are we in the FEMA process, who do we call to do what next, where is best for Mom to stay to wait for answers? We are not alone. There are thousands of people who don’t have the ability to manage as we have, together as a family facing these challenges. There are people who are alone, confused, cold and have no answers. I feel so grateful!
As we approach the Thanksgiving week, with all the holiday feasting and shopping hype already attacking from all angles, consider a different kind of holiday. Consider adopting a displaced family and sending a care package full of blankets and coats and gloves. Consider hiring a displaced worker, who may have lost a vehicle, and may need a ride but sure needs a job and to make a living. Consider providing a donation of your time to visit a retirement community where the elderly residents may not have any family close by to smile at them or have a meal together or share a hug of support. Consider donating your blood to the local Red Cross in your community, giving the gift of life at a very critical time.
Our situation is difficult, but we were lucky. My mom’s home is repairable, and she will get to go back again. I know other people on Long Beach Island, NJ, who have lost their homes, their businesses and everything they own. It will take time to rebuild Long Beach Island, and many are gathering to support this effort. If you would like to learn more, visit the links below. As for me, I know the only thing for sure is change. The roller coaster of life will continue and it’s the people on the ride with you that make all the difference.
Love, Peace & Magic ;~)