Gardening Magazine

Thoughts After Hurricane Sandy

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0

I feel ... not right.
Maybe it is "Survivor's guilt".
Hurricane Sandy has come and gone and we made it through pretty much unscathed. We even got power back last night while so many around us are still in the dark.
You'd think I would be ecstatic, but it doesn't feel that way.
While I am enjoying all of the benefits that electricity has to offer, I feel like I'm not supposed to. It's too soon. I should be suffering or "grinding it out" a bit more.
In an odd way, I felt more "connected" as the storm unfolded and in its aftermath. All of the nonsensical day to day "stuff" was pushed aside and there was a singular focus. We were all in it together and there for each other. Even tonight, I'm loving having our friends over so they could shower and enjoy the warmth.    
I spent a lot of time on Twitter while the storm was in motion and was overwhelmed by what was going on at the Jersey Shore and in New York City. It was heartbreaking and put my situation in perspective. Having to flush the toilet with buckets of water is nothing compared to what others were dealing with.
At the same time I was reading tweets about the destruction in the dark, while frightening wind gusts pounded against our house, I was also reading tweets about yummy cupcake recipes and cute decorating ideas on Pinterest and over the top, completely partisan political tweets.
I found myself getting more and more annoyed by these inane tweets. How dare you tweet about recipes when there is a disaster up and down the entire East Coast. Show some respect you a-holes.
But then I realized how damn hypocritical I was being. How many times had I gone about my business, without a care, when there was a tragedy somewhere else in the country or the world. Is there some sort of  rule book when it comes to tragedy? If we were to follow it, wouldn't we all be paralyzed by sadness?
I still haven't figured out how to reconcile it all, but I know I will teach my children to appreciate just how lucky they are and to be compassionate for all those who weren't so lucky. You never know what hand you are going to be dealt and you need to be able to adjust along the way.
Which brings me to another "storm" thought.
I'm pretty sure the kids will remember this week as one of the most fun of their lives. As scary as it was, they loved huddling together in the family room while the storm wreaked havoc outside. They loved eating ice cream for breakfast before it melted. They loved making shadow puppets on the ceiling with the flashlights. They loved not going to school and staying in their pajamas all day. A grand old time.
There were some complaints about not being able to watch TV or play their video games but for the most part, they loved "roughing it". And dammit if that isn't a lesson for us as parents. Keep it simple more often. Make the kids create their own fun. Boredom can lead to creativity.
I need to apply that same lesson to me as well. Maybe that is why I wasn't ready to get my power back. I enjoyed the simplicity and the camaraderie with family, friends and neighbors. It reminds me of how we felt after 9/11. It was a brutal tragedy and it felt wrong to feel good about how it brought everyone together. But you couldn't deny that emotion.      
Now I'm back online blogging, tweeting and reading my emails. And the kids are watching TV.
I don't want another tragedy to bring us back to what we just went through. It's my job as a parent to figure out how to create that same sensibility in our day to day lives.

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