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Hurricane Sandy Didn’t Take Sea Gate Away From Me

Sitting on this beach, the beach of my childhood and early adulthood, I was enveloped by that familiar sense of serenity. Here, the stresses of life do not follow; I feel at ease and connected to the world.

Hurricane Sandy didn’t take that away.

Sitting on this beach, I was reminded of the sights, smells, and sounds that transport me back to my connection with nature.

The rolling waves with the sun shimmering down on them as they crash to shore calm and inspire me. The sea gulls floating above my head lift up my spirits. That salty beach scent awakens my senses that have been dulled by urban odors.

The hurricane didn’t take that away.

When Hurricane Sandy struck last year, so many places up and down the northeastern coast were terribly affected. Sea Gate, a private community off the western end of Coney Island in Brooklyn, was no exception.

I grew up in Sea Gate, my parents still reside there, and my uncle and aunt lost their home there. Yes, Sea Gate holds much pain as much as it does inspiration and a sense of home to me.

My sister and I recently strolled across the shore, and I was reminded at the beauty and ugliness of nature. While I beheld the sights and smells of my familiar beach, I saw home upon home along the shore that had been affected by the super storm. And then I came upon the site of where my aunt and uncle’s home once stood.

That home was a glittering monument to my childhood, for my parents, sister, and I once lived on the second floor. My days at home were filled with staring out into the vast ocean and enjoying all that could be done on the beach. With the familiar gang of my sister and three cousins, we enjoyed lazy summer days, sand castle building, game playing, sandwich eating, and romps into the sea.

But now, that glittering monument is no more. The structure was so badly damaged by the storm that my aunt and uncle had to make the heart-wrenching decision to have it torn down.

Hurricane Sandy took that away from them. It took away a lot for many people.

Standing on that shoreline and looking into the empty lot that was once such a place of serenity, happiness, and fond memories, was a somber moment. Staring into the void, I felt a sadness that I could not articulate. In the blink of an eye, nature destroyed something so treasured, so valued. Like a lightning strike, quick and powerful, everything was transformed.

And while there are many stories of pain and loss due to the storm, this one hits home. And while my aunt, uncle, and their children pave the way forward, the sight of seeing their home destroyed by nature is something that will forever linger.

But out of such misery and sadness, hopefully understanding will come. It was an understanding that struck me as I stared into what was once my rock in the storm of life.

For as I recently stood on that shoreline, while I was sad, I also reflected on the good memories. The days we spent on the beach where life’s turmoil would not touch us, where our troubles would not follow, and where we enjoyed each others company and the beauty of living and playing on the beach.

Hurricane Sandy didn’t and will never take those away from me.

Destruction has its limitation, even that caused by Sandy.