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Stages of Grief: Storm Edition

Lest you think we are obsessed with Hurricane Sandy, and its aftermath, let me assure you that we are. Obsession is the final stage of grief before power and our normal lives are restored.

Lisa, of Grown and Flown, writes: Lest you think we are obsessed with Sandy, and its dire aftermath, let me assure you that we are. Obsession is the final stage reached before the electric power is restored, and with it, our normal lives. For those of us just north of NYC this is the third time in just over a year that we have had a weather wipe-out and lost all of our utilities.   We now recognize obsession as one of the classic and final stages of grief (storm-wise) as we try to will the Con Edison trucks to head to our neighborhoods.

Stages of grief during Sandy

Anticipation, it’s coming. How big and how bad are the only questions unanswered.Preparation begins and with it a frenetic blur of activity.  Anticipation is the nexus where dread and excitement cross paths.

Soon, though, there is just dread. Will the power go out? Will there be work or school, property damage or worse?  It is the, “or worse” that takes us straight into the next stage.

Fear descends with the darkness as the wind, snow, ice or rain lash at our windows and doors. Even the bravest among us realizes the sheer destructive power of mother nature and fears her wrath. The churning fury outside seems to last longer and sound worse than anyone dared imagine.

And then the worst is over and there are floods of relief. There will be terrible, heartbreaking stories, and even the least religious in our midst will know that grace and good fortune have shone upon us.  We are overcome with gratitude, for our safety, for the morning sunshine, for our homes and the new day.

The roads are blocked and trees and power lines strewn about like a toddler’s toys. Discovering our little world remade, helping a neighbor and locating a cup of coffee are, for a few hours, an adventure. Finding out where the power works and what is the most optimistic timetable for repairs, for a moment, all seem novel.

But this will not last and soon, we realize the day is lost, or maybe a few days or the week. Nothing is going to happen. Plans are changed then cancelled, productivity grinds to a halt. It is an irritation and then an annoyance. Giving into nothingness is not easy.

Day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4: no longer amusing. Con Ed says Monday but a neighbor saw them working on the power lines. There is no gas and firewood stores are low. The night-time temperatures are in the 30’s. Day 5, day 6 tempers fray, kids are bored, adults fed up asfrustration and helplessness descend.

Sitting in Starbucks for wi-fi, obsessing over the Con Ed site. Maybe the school district has more up-to-date information or the Patch. We wake up thinking today will be The Day.

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Mother of autistic November 09, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I just checked out the wood mizer you tubes which were mentioned a few days ago on patch. It looks like a great way to deal with all the downed trees. The amount of beautiful lumber would be staggering. Homes built with real wood would last forever, while plywood will fall apart.
BG7 November 09, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I see a lot or people no chopping down huge old trees now out of fear of them dropping limbs. No-one seems to just pollard the trees, which is very easy. You keep the tree's shade and oxygen producing ability, you keep the esthestics of the street, and you don't have limbs falling anymore. Why do so few people do this? Just easier to cut down a tree which has been growing for 80 years and is only half way through its life? Short-sighted.
SRT November 09, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Pollarding is only effective on some species of trees, the lindens you referred to being among the good candidates. It was originally done as a way to produce a "crop" of branches for a variety of uses like fodder for farm animals to fence posts. It is fairly labor intensive so I am not sure if it makes sense for municpalities to do it except in specific situations. In Europe I have seen promenades where the trees are not only pollarded but the tips of one tree's branches are grafted to the adjacent tree effectively creating and continuous, uniform canopy..
BG7 November 09, 2012 at 08:53 PM
We'll given the choice between pollarded trees (only once every two years or so) and no trees but hot streest - I'll take the latter. I'm thinking given the apparently increased frequency of hi wind situations, it'd make sense. O
BG7 November 09, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Oops, I meant "I'll take the former"!


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