I have not written in one week which is unheard of on this blog. Even when I travel and attempt to unplug, I end up sneaking off to share my words. The last week definitely has not left me wordless rather unable to thoughtfully deliver my words.
Just shy of one week ago as the East Coast was ripped apart by Hurricane Sandy, my mom was wheeled away to the operating room for crucial back surgery. Without this procedure, my mom was staring life in a wheelchair smack in the face, but as they wheeled my mom down the long hall, sheer panic tore through me. I just wanted them to bring her back, safe, sound, and unharmed.
I am sure this is the way that people all over the country felt about their loved ones on this day. Loved ones in Delaware, New York and New Jersey whos’ homes were being washed away or facades literally blown off of the front. Family members who were not able to get in touch because they lost power and could not charge their devices. College roommates, distant cousins, old co-workers who we wondered if they had water, food, coffee?
As I sat, squirmed, and paced in the hospital waiting room alongside my Aunt Barbara watching every news outlet I could find on #Sandy, I too did not know the status of my most cherished family member. Hours ticked by, both the dichotomy and parallels of what was occurring struck me heavy. As I made friends with the other hospital waiting room waitees, I learned one woman’s mom was fighting for her life during her 28th surgery for oral cancer. Yet another woman’s mom underwent surgery to remove a growth on her chest. There were many other daughters, sisters, and family members waiting on pins and needles as doctors put aside everything else to save lives in the operating room as massive destruction happened in other parts of our country.
There lies the bifurcation:
Massive Destruction meets [I think I would call it] Life’s Biggest Challenge – Saving Lives.
As they ‘fixed’ my mom and made her whole again, my cousin Dana’s apartment building garage flooded with 3 feet of water in Hoboken, her sister Lori had to leave their home with a newborn, and I was furiously trying to get in touch with all the New Yorkers I know. Were they ok? Were they safe?
Many cups of coffee into the day, my mom was still not out of the operating room. In fact, we had no idea what was going on…A rush of congruence ran over me. Many people did not know what was going on that day. I was checking Facebook, monitoring Twitter, reading the updates from the NY Times, keeping an eye on the TV, and texting as many friends as possible. Thousands of others were doing the same. On this day, the worry ran much deeper than the hospital waiting room.
At some point, I think I begged Henry to bring me a glass of wine, and over this very wine, I discovered the same people I was worrying about were wishing my mom well.
Cosmic. Definitely. Why I love what I do as a writer on the internetz? Absolutely.
While I wish that I was on an exotic vacation, I took the last week off to be with my mom, get my strength back, and just be in the moment. Now, I am so happy to be back.
My mom is hopefully going back home tomorrow with a LONG recovery ahead of her as my friends and family in New York and New Jersey wait in long gas lines and surely have a long recovery ahead of them. Insurance claims will obviously be slow while I hope heat, power and water are quick to be restored.
I contemplate the small businesses collapsed along my beloved Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, the gregarious restaurant owners in NYC, and the however many number of people who work from home and now are displaced.
Please leave a comment on how you were affected and relief efforts that we may participate in because after all, whether we like it or not, we are all one parallel universe.
Photo: rblaufeld/ instagram, Flickr