Hurricane Sandy: The Light amidst the Darkest Storm
The beginning of Hurricane Sandy was also the beginning of dad’s journey home. It was just a matter of time. Dad always slept through the night; however, Night One of Hurricane Sandy would be different.
Our aide, Gabriel (our angel) had to leave to go home to his family. My 88-year-old mother, my 14-year-old daughter and I braced ourselves for the unknown.
It was 8:00 p.m. and here it came – the storm hit, the power went out on Eastern Long Island. I was the only one in the house responsible for two elders and one teen girl. Frightened does not even begin to describe the feeling. We had no way of knowing how bad it would be. With no contact to the outside world, we could only wait and wait some more as we watched. Not knowing was the worst part.
Ask anyone on my block and they will attest – you cannot get much, if any, cell phone service here even on a clear day.
Dad was immobile. He was dependent on us for his food and toileting needs as well as his medical needs. My son taught me how to run the nebulizer from my car, I had flashlights, food, and candles, but emotionally I was more frightened than I care to ever remember.
It was 1:00 a.m. when I heard my mother cry out, “God help me, I cannot do this anymore.” As I went down to see what was going on, I discovered that she was trying to change my dad’s diaper in the dark in the throes of this historical storm.
I encircled his bed with flashlights, helped to turn him while mom pulled up his diaper. He had soiled himself fiercely. She had cleaned him up good, but at 4’11” did not have the strength to pull his diaper up properly.
My dog came down and was barking at the reflection from the flashlights on the ceiling while running around in circles. Fear and stress wanted to overcome. It would have been so easy to say some four-letter words, cry, and be stressed beyond belief.
Something else happened though. Although it was pitch black in the house and we were in the throes of a monster hurricane, the room felt as though it was lit up. I knew unequivocally without a doubt that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, when I was supposed to be there. I was in the right place at the right time, and it felt joyous.
The presence of joy filled the room. In the midst of the most frightening experience there in the dark, I chose faith and faith flooded the room with joy and light.
In the deepest, darkest moments of caring for both my parents, holding on to that memory knowing that I have a choice, it’s okay to be afraid but I can also choose to be fearless in spite of my circumstances. For I am not the sum of my circumstances – I am so much more.
God has always gotten me through tough times. Going forward, I try to hold that memory in the recesses of my mind and I choose faith.