I write to you in sorrow over the shocking catastrophe that has struck the Eastern states of the US, in the face of what is now called the greatest natural disaster in US History. It has taken me some days to catch my breath and even know what to say. We are all so horrified, and grief stricken for the people who lost homes, belongings, all their worldly possessions, or worse, loved ones. Natural disasters are more terrifying than anything man can create. Fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, anyone who has experienced them has a profound respect for the force of nature.
We have all seen the stories on the news, the closing of NYU Hospital in NY, and rescue of their patients, as nurses carried babies from the Newborn ICU down many flights of stairs, operating manually operated respirators, streets and neighborhoods disappearing, the boardwalk and roller coaster in Atlantic City vanishing into the ocean, cars swept down flooded streets, houses disappearing, people being rescued. It has brought the entire Eastern seaboard to a halt, with the whole lower part of Manhattan under water and without power, who knows for how long.
It has come very close to home for us, as I have two daughters who live in New York. Both were evacuated, and have homes they love. My daughter who is the most dedicated to her home, and truly loved it, with collections of treasured objects she has spent ten years collecting and cherished, and takes great pride in the home she loved so much, lost everything in the storm. Both of them live in downtown New York, and the one hardest hit lives across from the Hudson River, where 32 foot waves engulfed the lower part of the city (right across from her home), and 15 feet of floodwater rushed at her building and others and down the streets, and she lost everything she owns, and is heartbroken over it, as we are for her, and for everyone who suffered damage in the hurricane. I am immensely grateful that neither of my daughters were physically harmed, both are alive, and were able to save their dogs, although one daughter is without a home now. But it is a terrifying experience they will long remember, and it isn’t over yet. The whole lower part of Manhattan has no power, water, electricity. The one daughter’s apartment is still filled with mud, sea water, and water from the sewers. It is unthinkable in a city that seems as solid as New York. And my heart aches for everyone’s losses. Possessions can be replaced, but treasured sentimental objects are sad losses, and the homes where we all like to believe we are safe. It is terrifying to realize that we are not safe in the face of natural disasters.
Trapped in Paris, with all the airports closed around New York, I have watched in horror, and listened to my children’s sobs when I could reach them on the phone. I was able to get a flight for tomorrow, and will fly in to help them. But I think we all feel helpless in the face of this disaster.
My heart goes out to you who suffered damage and losses, injuries, or lost loved ones. As my youngest daughter said when I told her of her sister losing everything she owned and her apartment, “I have no words.” I have no words either. You have my love and my prayers, and my deep compassion. Let us hope that another disaster like this doesn’t happen again, and let us hope that the wounds, both emotional and material, heal as quickly as possible.
I send you all my love,