SANDY VICTIMS, BACK TO NORMAL?

Not for a long time if you have been directly affected.   For some this is a blow that will never fully heal. Think for a minute of having everything in your home swept away or totally destroyed by fire.

Imagine your home once stood here.

Or imagine you lived in one of these homes.  This is a picture of the remains of a one of the almost 100 homes burned Sandy Point while just blocks away others were being flooded.

“In all honesty, it looks like a war zone,” Breezy Point resident Mike Long said. “It looks like during the night, that fighter planes or bombers came through and just bombed the entire area. It just looks terrible.”

SANDY AND EMOTIONAL FITNESS

This is Janet Rosa, former work colleague, on-gong Facebook Friend. Janet lives in downtown Manhattan  so has been through 9/11 and now is enduring the aftermath of Sandy.  She will come through all the pain.  She is one of the more emotionally strong women I know.  She works as a Parent Advocate.

Here are two of Janet’s Facebook posts. that she posted last week. The first to let friends know she and her family were safe.

She posted: The last couple of days have been so traumatizing…my heart goes out to everyone impacted by hurricane Sandy especially my co-worker who lost her home…the things I have witnessed I thought would only ever see in movies and thankful that it wasn’t much worse ..I thank God that my family and I are alive and well…we are with my parents for the time being until the water and power in my building come back..The building where I work has no power and the area was badly hit as well so will just wait and see what happens..These events are becoming more frequent here in NYC and so have to better prepare myself for what’s to come..hope everyone is safe and well..

Two days later she ranted a bit, something Janet just doesn’t do.  I worked with her for three years trying to help families of mental ill children.  She never, uttered a word of complaint in a situation that often had me tearing my hair:

This is what she said:  It is unreal how some people ignore the fact that a hurricane hit NYC, NJ…that people lost their homes and that bodies are being discovered daily…disabled and elderly people that can’t go downstairs because there’s no elevator, not being able to shower, no drinking water, some have no food and not a soul to check on them…yes you may not have gotten affected by it directly but please don’t forget that many people did….It will take some time to recover from this.

Hardly a rant, but she knows a hard reality; once the relief of just surviving an event like this, another painful reality hits.  Getting back to normal will take a long time and it will most likely be a different normal and one a bit more filled with fear.

Janet is a strong one.  Her life is about caring and helping.  She will not be beaten down.  But she is also human and part of being on Facebook, or Pinterest forces you to face the facts that  events like Sandy sink off the landscape fairly quickly.  Very sad, and speaks poorly of those who forget too quickly or do nothing to help.  Don’t be one who goes mindless on with your life.

HOW TO HELP

Because my heart is with Janet and many others I know from my days in the Big Apple, I hear and feel her upset.  She gave me permission to share her posts.  I ask you to do more than read. Be grateful you are able to turn away from pain and sorrow.  But hold those who cannot in your heart. Express your gratitude by doing lots more for those who cannot.

FEMA offers this list of suggestions for people who want to help storm survivors and affected areas:

  • Cash is the most efficient method of donating. Cash offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover. Remember, unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
  • At the national level, many voluntary-, faith- and community-based organizations are active in disasters, and are trusted ways to donate to disaster survivors. In addition to the national members, each state has its own list of voluntary organizations active in disasters. If you’d like to donate or volunteer to assist those affected by Sandy, these organizations are the best place to start.
  • Give blood. Numerous blood drives have been canceled as a result of the storm and the Red Cross has a need for blood donations. To schedule a blood donation or for more information about giving blood or platelets, visit redcrossblood.org or call  1-800-RED CROSS ( 1-800-733-2767).
  • Affiliate with existing non-profit organizations before coming to the disaster area. Immediately following a disaster, a community can become easily overwhelmed by the amount of generous people who want to help. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure that you are appropriately trained to respond in the most effective way.
  • Be safe. Do not self deploy until a need has been identified and the local community impacted has requested support. Wait until it is safe to travel to volunteer sites and opportunities have been identified. Once assigned a position, make sure you have been given an assignment and are wearing proper safety gear for the task.
  • Be patient.  Recovery lasts a lot longer than the media attention. There will be volunteer needs for many months, often years, after the disaster – especially when the community enters the long-term recovery period.
  • For more, check out this volunteering resource page from FEMA.

STAY STRONG

This is usually where I tell you life is a struggle.  It is, but if you are reading this, you struggle far less than most in the world.  Believe it or not, compared to most of those in the world  you are among the 1%.  Be grateful that you can sit at a computer and read and connect.  Be grateful and think how you can share more.

Katherine

My Pinterest pins are my way of trying to share and care.

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.