A year ago today, almost to the hour, I looked out my front door and saw trees swaying as if the Big Bad Wolf was huffing and puffing towards them. The power had been out for three hours so far, and my pup was unsettled. In town for a wedding, my parents had gone upstairs to try and get some sleep. The wind was strong but the rain was weak. The clouds seem to spit out just a drizzle, and as I looked at the laughable puddle in front of my house, I decided to lay on the couch.
I awoke by sitting straight up gasping for air. I ran to the front door and looked out the window. There was water already sitting on my second step, and rising. I ran out the back door and onto my deck, flashlight in hand. I shined the light on the cars in the driveway and saw my 5 month old new Jeep Compass, with about 6 inches to spare before the water invaded it. My parents new Equinox had about 4 inches to go before it was a loss.
I ran upstairs and woke my parents and we proceeded to do everything they tell you not to in this situation. I put all my important papers in my purse, and manged to stuff a towel and blanket in there. I grabbed my pup, her portable water bowl, a bottle of water, and her food and we left.
As I followed my parents to higher ground, the water was rising. I drove passed my neighbors homes and saw their cars getting filled with the bay water. I then saw some of my neighbors homes being filled with that same water.
We drove around the corner and two blocks up, and we parked our cars. In my rear view mirror, even in the dark, I could see people walking up through the now waist deep water with pets in hand, and whatever they grabbed over their heads. There were people trying to save their cars and driving to where my parents and I had parked.
Minutes later, my dad came to my window and told me that there was a group going up to the shopping center about three miles away. They agreed on that place because there were no trees or power lines. So, we drove up there (like I said, we did everything we were told not to do. We were scared.)
I didn’t sleep the entire night. It was freezing and having walked knee deep to my car I couldn’t warm up. I’d doze off and then wake up having to put my car on so I could turn the heat on. My poor pup was uneasy, walking back and forth. She too did not sleep a wink that night. We had no idea if I had a home anymore or if so, what condition was it in.
The next morning when the sun came out, we had one more high tide to deal with. So we waited for it, still in the parking lot. I could see the helicopters flying on rescue missions, and the radio was reporting total devastation.
It was then that I realized, I had survived a natural disaster of epic proportions. I was victim.
When my brother, who lives three towns over, finally found us, it was noon. We decided that my father, my brother, and myself would go back to my house to see the damage. My mother would stay with her pup and mine. We parked as close to my street as we could, which was about a block away, and walked through thigh high waters through my neighbors yard to my back yard. Walking up to my home, I was praying that it was spared. Once I opened my back door I saw that it was, and I broke down. The water line on the side of my house was about 4 feet. My house stands about 5 feet.
The 12 days without power, total loss of my furnace, and everything in my shed was a small price to pay for having a standing home, as many in my town were not spared.
The emotional scar that Superstorm Sandy has left on my heart, is one I don’t talk about much, instead I try to focus on how lucky I was and to just be thankful.