We Did Not Evacuate

We live in Beach Haven West, NJ. We didn't evacuate for Superstorm Sandy. I remember the police coming through, saying from their car microphones that they "wouldn't be back". I didn't want to leave the cats, and I figured we would be fine, even after almost all the neighbors evacuated.

At the second high tide, around 11:00 pm, the flood came. I watched the water cross the street from the canal and within 15 minutes it was slapping under the house. Then the cars were floating. And we just started flinging stuff up off the floor. It came up through the floor all at once. Don't know why I was surprised by that, but I was. Then we just sat on the couch and waited. Had a cooler full of booze, so we just put our feet up on it and drank.

I remember watching the electric baseboard heaters to see where the water line was. I had already plunked the cats up on the bed and surrounded them with their food and water and litter, etc. My male cat of course jumped down into the water and ran around like a nut, looking for a dry spot. When he couldn't find one, he just sat in the water and cried until I picked him up and put him back on the bed, sopping wet. The water went down after coming up about 8", and we all slept in the bed that night like it was a little island. The next day we tried to get up and deal with the aftermath, but nobody knew where to start. I just went back to bed. I was heartbroken. It was too much to comprehend.

Flood insurance was of no help. They gave us 1/3 of what we were insured for. FEMA also of no help. We have had to fight tooth and nail for every flood grant and every penny. Today we finally put pilings down after demoing the house. I am thankful every day for what we have, but at the same time hold so much resentment for the state of NJ and FEMA allowing flood insurance to low ball us like they did. I try so hard to let go and let God, but this has been the hardest thing ever, and I can't let go of my grudge against those who have done us wrong. I truly believed that we would be helped---and much sooner. I am older and wiser now. And, unfortunately, very, very jaded and cynical. But I will not give up, no matter what. That tenacity is what has brought me this far, and that is what will carry me through.