There exists a special place for all of us where we have felt our happiest – whether we hold it among our most cherished memories in our hearts or in our mind’s eye. Be it an emotional ‘happy place’ or physical port in a storm, these safe havens allow refuge from the onslaught of daily vexation and are a welcome respite.
Yet, sometimes, even paradise needs protection. Since Superstorm Sandy devastated communities up and down the East Coast, I have been pleasantly (and constantly) amazed by the resilience of the human spirit. We do… we must believe that within each and every one of us is an ineffable quality allowing us to be knocked down by hardships encountered in life only to come back stronger than ever. And each and every one of us needs to be there for every other, for each other.
Long Beach Island, New Jersey is my beach haven. I have an almost obsession with the place that is one part a love for the tranquil atmosphere and another part the yearn for what once was. It’s where my happiest and most favorite memories were cultivated. It’s a part of my history. I can close my eyes and remember, for that sweet second, happier times. I see my mother, happy, healthy, and plugged into life.
Superstorm Sandy hit and I thought back to particularly stormy summers watching LBI Blvd flood up to my knees. I remember sloshing around to the pay phone at the 7-11 across from Fantasy Island to call my best friend back in the city how much fun I was having watching kids boogie board down the boulevard. I remember how we didn’t have power for a few days so my mom set up the little living room like a fort and I was astonished by how cool she was being. That was 20 years ago. As an adult, when Superstorm Sandy hit, I prayed and prayed for all my favorite places, for the dunes we had to be scolded at to keep off of, for the people in all the houses from the bay to the beach and all up and down the Island. And I prayed, though I had no doubt, the people in what I think of as paradise would pull through.
And you did. And you continue to. I was so happy to read in the Sandpaper a little blurb concerning emotional support for Superstorm Sandy Survivors. If you’re a resident on the Island and you missed it, didn’t see it, or didn’t know it, I’ve listed here below. Here’s hoping for a successful summer season another year post-Sandy!
Mental Healthcare Services for Sandy Survivors
New Jersey State is providing free services through a network of clinicians to people experiencing emotional reactions due to Sandy through 2015. Call 866-202-HELP
Sandy Support Group Meets
Beach Haven Firehouse, South Bay Ave. & Amber Street
A safe, structured environment to share experiences, feelings, strength, and hope. Participation is optional. Meets every other Wednesday at 6:30 pm. Call 917-623-9339 for more details.