I can’t get Sandy and it’s victims out of my mind. I live my life as does everyone else, day after day doing the best I can but always, always in the back of my mind are the people who’ve lost everything to this storm, as many here in New Orleans did to Katrina and the failure of the federally built levees. Every news story I read brings back the memories of life after the storm and I grieve for those going through that hell now, as we did then. I didn’t lose my house, my loved ones, my life as so many did but I lived the days afterward in a broken city. I was lucky. I may have been inconvenienced for several months, I might have suffered survivors guilt and depression but I knew, I knew in my heart that I was one of the lucky ones. Be that as it may, I do believe that my close proximity to disaster, loss, death and despair made me a more empathetic person. I know personally people who did lose everything, who put their lives on the line to help others, who lost their own lives in the face of a disaster.
When I read how Congress has waited so long, so very long – 78 days – , to vote to give aid to the victims of Sandy it makes my blood boil. Yes, we may have lost many more lives to our storm than theirs but that should only make us all more empathetic. We have lived through disaster, we have slogged through the red tape and politicians bullsh*t and that should make us more empathetic. The comparisons between the storms really don’t matter. This is not a competition as to who suffered more. We all have suffered. It doesn’t matter now who opined that we lived below sea level and deserved our fate and whether or not they say the same about New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. No one – no one- deserves to lose their entire life like this. But, it happens. Through natural means or man-made means, it happens.
We, as New Orleanians, know just how devestating and how damn hard it is to live after a disaster such as Sandy. We lived through the pain, the despair, the hardship, the depression. We lived through months of Fema trailers, garbage, no city services, the stink, the flies, the limited store hours, the food and gas shortages, the lack of medical facilities, the fight with insurance companies and on and on and on. We know the hard, relentless slog of life and the mental fortitude it takes to keep on going. We know what the Sandy survivors are living through right now.
May it never happen to you. This is what I think about at 1:30 in the morning when I cannot sleep. The memories may fade a bit with time, but they never pass entirely.