Surviving Sandy: One Woman’s Take on the Superstorm

November 15th, 2012

A short while ago, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast. Ella, a 21 Drops staffer and New Jersey resident, recounts how the storm affected her home, her family, and her life.

This is Ella’s story:

Photo courtesy of Brian Birke on flickr

 

He was nervously pacing up and down the halls, oblivious to everything around him. He was worried, flustered and anxious; he wished he could do something to help but he knew he had no part in this natural process.

The man in this scenario was my husband. And, NO, I’m not talking childbirth here. I’m talking natural disaster.

It was a Monday night and Hurricane Sandy was growing fiercer as it was hitting the shoreline of New Jersey – not so far from our Central NJ home. With a wife, a newborn and a young son, as well as his home to protect, my husband was more distraught than I had ever seen him. I was growing increasingly anxious as well. There’s something about a powerful storm that makes you realize just how powerless humans are. It’s seriously stressful.

The kids were terrified of the wind howling against our glass windowpanes. My husband and I were frantically trying to protect them, each other, and our home… at the same time listening to the horrific sound of large trees going down in the vicinity. Then, the lights went out. It was the most frightening hours of our lives.

The Aftermath:

Photo courtesy of Paul Lomax on flickr

Being centrally located, we did not, thank God, experience the full devastation of Sandy. But, devastating it certainly was. Life, as we knew it, was on hold. My husband was freaking out when he saw that we were surrounded by fallen trees, our newly installed fence was ripped out by merciless Sandy. I was watching the contents of my fully-stocked freezer spoiling while I was holding onto the baby and trying to assure my son that all was well.

Getting away to a more civilized place to ride it out was not an option. The storm had taken its toll on gasoline supplies. Mile-long lines at those gas stations who actually had electricity led to utter frustration as their supply ran out before your turn was even in view.

There was no going anywhere.

But, as I increasingly learned of the catastrophic experiences of fellow storm victims; losing homes, pets, property and valuables – it became clear that my family’s heartbreak paled in comparison. Suddenly, I felt petty for worrying about the small inconveniences of losing lights, power, cable, and internet, when more important things were left safe and sound, untouched by Sandy’s wrath.

Stress rears its ugly head during hard times, but when the situation is not life-threatening, it’s best to get the upper hand on stress.

Looking back, I could have dealt with the tense situation differently.

Instead of freaking out from the dark and toting utilitarian flashlights around, we could have lit some scented candles to create a more relaxed atmosphere.
Instead of fretting about food rotting in the powered-down freezer, we could have had an impromptu neighborhood barbeque.
Instead of frantically driving around looking for gas, we could have spent quality family time in our welcome, albeit chilly, home without the distractions of TV or internet.

Although I hope not to experience a second Sandy in my lifetime, if something like Sandy happens again, I’ll be more prepared. With lots of extra candles, a charged laptop, and a renewed appreciation for the important things in life. Oh, and I’ll be sure to remember to keep my 21 Drops #11 De-Stress blend in my emergency kit!

Thank you, Ella for sharing your experience with us. Did any of you experience Sandy first- hand? How did you cope with the stress brought on by the Franken-storm?

 

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