Hurricane Sandy happened 3 years ago today. My parents were displaced from our home for at least half of that. They didn't want to leave as the first evacuation alerts went out and by June of this year we didn't know when or if they'd return. The first year was spent gutting the water-damaged first floor, disposing of many family belongings, and rebuilding. My parents were strong and while living out of a hotel spent much of their time caring for their pets and going to the church to have and help with meals.
Over the last year they were displaced again so the house could be lifted per a town zoning/ taxation mandate. They went to Ohio because gratefully my step-mothers family is there and had room for them. I am closer to my parents through this struggle and we are all more keenly aware of the value of a home. I suggested they just cut their losses and move to Ohio several times. That house, however, has been ours for generations - a home of life, death, and rebirth - well and truly.
Two weekends ago, I sat with my parents and the pets, out on our back deck in the trees (now 10 or so feet in the air). We drank coffee and enjoyed the shade and character of our renewed home. I am grateful for my parents strength to weather this storm (there had to be a pun) and to see everything through to the other side. They are a remarkable team and stayed so positive and loyal to our home and family throughout - that is the real definition of Jersey Strong.