I'm not a crier. I don't cry over the small things. I'm mostly stoic and keep my emotions in check when it comes to things some people would fall to pieces over. It's not something I'm bragging about, it's just how I am.
Last week, I watched in horror as Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore. Decimated the town I grew up in, and loved being at every summer. Destroyed homes, and lives, and caused havoc among the people that live along those shorelines. I found myself desperately texting my sister and my mother, silently willing them to answer me back that yes, they were alright.
I sat in front of the television all day, weepy. I talked with my mother on the phone, and it was hard for me to maintain my composure. I found myself aching to be there, to help, even though there was really nothing I could do. And this surprised me for many reasons.
It would sneak up on me, the hot fresh tears that would suddenly appear in the corners of my eyes. The times I had to retreat to another room, because I didn't want my children to see their mother in such a state. I didn't want them to worry. I needed to be strong, for them.
I am thankful for the fact that my family is alright. I'm proud of the way my family and friends have banded together to assist in the recovery efforts. People can say what they want about New Jersey, but the humanity and compassion and outright generosity of those who have also lost so much moves me every time.
As a Jersey exile, I pray for my hometown, and those who have lost so much. I pray that they find comfort, peace and love in this tough time.