As I start to write my thoughts, I don’t even know where to begin. Super Storm Sandy came through and completely devastated so much of our beloved Jersey Shore, not to mention N.Y. and Staten Island.
It’s heart wrenching to look back at the destruction that was left behind. For many all that is left are the vivid memories of the splendor that once was. For me the Jersey shore will forever be a special place -- family vacations and weekend getaways. We started to doubt if it would ever be the same again. But there were some bright spots that came out of it. Thankfully with everyone’s hard work and determination we are confident that it will be rebuilt and be even better than before. The days and weeks that followed Sandy brought about such an incredible sense of strength and community as people from everywhere came together to help one another.
We were among the fortunate; losing power and heat was a relatively minor setback. As we sporadically received news reports of so many people that were displaced and lost everything, all we felt was a deep sense of helplessness. We did what we could to help: I got in the kitchen started cooking and baking, donating food and our time to support as well as offered up our home to family and friends.
For a time after the storm it seemed so hopeless -- how does our community begin to pick up the pieces? Where do we even start?
It was a time for reflection, a time to put things into perspective. When all seems lost, the constant focus is family and loved ones. Whether you’re on good terms or estranged. Often times it is the innocence and simplicity of our children’s desires that help balance our emotions and put everything into perspective. How sweet to see the joy in Antonia and Milania as they are reunited for a play date. I’m sure it was awkward and uncomfortable for Melissa and Teresa, but despite their own feelings they made their children happy. When cousins in our family have been this close in age, they’ve been inseparable.
Rebuilding things after a natural disaster is not easy. Rebuilding severed relationships can be even more difficult. However, in both cases if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get dirty, you will be amazed at what can happen with hard work and help from others.
“Alone we can do so little; Together we can do so much." -Hellen KellerThis past year New Jersey has worked tirelessly to “Restore the Shore”. We too have rolled up our sleeves and gotten dirty at times as well as shed a few tears too on our road to recovery. Be patient with us as you follow our journey to restore our family, as we deal with our personal battles and struggles, and as our children are growing and facing their own obstacles (this has to be the most difficult of all, such as Jacqueline and Chris with Nick).
Regardless, we all worked really hard and learned so much about each other as well as ourselves. You will share some tears with us and I guarantee that there will be plenty of time to laugh at our ridiculous behavior.
After all, we are New Jersey, resilient and proud. You can’t break our spirit! We’re Jersey Strong!
Lots of love,
A special thank you to everyone across the country who donated their time and made contributions to the many organizations that raised money for Sandy Relief and those who sent their prayers and continue to so. Thank you all.