Surviving a Storm

by Judy

Just thought I'd write about my personal experience coping with Hurricane Andrew. I know it's not the same as what has recently happened, because at least we could blame it on the weather, and we did have some time to prepare for it. But I find myself remembering those times as I see what people in NYC and Washington and Pennsylvania are coping with.

What I remember most was how giving and thoughtful people were. Many were complete strangers. I had 3 children at the time and was able to have my ex-husband take the 2 older kids, so this helped.

What I can suggest is to let others help as much as they can. There is so much to worry about (filing insurance claims, do I have a job?, no electricity or running water, getting food at temporary army camp sites and finding a way to get there...) We all (the people in my neighborhood, and my family) helped each other out by cooking, watching each other's kids, having a shoulder to cry on.

I also kept a journal every night, and some time later, typed it up and gave copies out to all those who had been involved with my particular situation. It was my way of saying thanks to them. I read it about a year ago, and it still brought tears to my eyes.

I know for those who have lost someone, there is a void that will be hard to fill. It will take some time to get past the grieving, healing and eventual acceptance of what has happened. But it will happen, and get any help that is offered. Therapy can come in many ways. Everyone is grieving now in America and elsewhere. But look at the ways so many people are trying to help. I guess to sum it all up, I'd just like to say believe it or not, my experience with that disaster was one I'm glad I experienced, and I believe it allowed me to grow in ways I never would have if this had not happened.

"United We Stand" is a feature containing recollections and suggestions for surviving in turbulent times. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it by email to with "United" as the subject.

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