I feel guilty.
My family and I survived Hurricane Sandy completely unscathed. Minus the power being out at our house we had no water or structural damage at all. For that I feel lucky. But I also feel a sense of guilt, like maybe we should have been hit harder so we would completely know what it's like back home.
All I have to go on is pictures I see on the Internet. Pictures of absolute chaos all over the tristate area. I've seen a lot of bad things over the years from working in TV news, including New York City after 9/11. But seeing these images of the widespread destruction so close to where I live hits home much harder.
I didn't know anyone that died in the attacks on the World Trade Center, so for me while the day was tragic I was never left with any of this guilt that I have now. Maybe my home should have taken on sea water like my Best Man at my wedding's house. Maybe our whole neighborhood should be wiped out much like my wife's old stomping grounds on Staten Island were. Maybe we should have stayed in New Jersey and rode out this whole mess like everyone else is?
We decided to leave.
Vacation was planned for later in the week, so we decided to leave early. Leave an area that we know is devastated, for the comfort and safety of Walt Disney World. Maybe that is part of the reason that I feel guilty, I'm here and others are back home picking up the pieces of their torn apart lives, or in the case of my best man - protecting his house from ass hole looters that are going to to door stealing from those who have already lost so much. My kids will never know what it's like back home. All of their friends are struggling to stay warm in powerless houses and here they are getting to go to Legoland and Disney World.
Should we have stayed home and dealt with this there? Part of me actually thinks that we should have, but I do think we made the right decision heading south. We are fortunate that we were able to do so. So many families could not. That's why my wife and I have decided to donate all of our old clothes and toys to families that have lost everything. See my whole "not wanting to get rid of anything" finally paid off.
I just want everyone to know that even though we might be a thousand miles away, our hearts are very much back home with all our friends who riding this out back there.