I moved into a permanent place to live today: a new location, an alien location. I have become very very very sick, neurologically, consequence of losing my home and medical equipment in Superstorm Sandy, and consequence of the Disaster Recovery System’s complete failure to validate or help disabled people in disaster. It is a heavy burden. I pray that I can reverse the damage, replace my lost medical equipment, and stabilize my injury, now that I have a location to put my equipment in: and that I can restore the comfort of what is a home for me. I hope that someday there will be good and kind people in the world again and that the attitudes of people, agencies and programs will not be the barriers I need to overcome.
Right now, I am sad, afraid, lost and hurting: longing to be home, knowing the past and everything familiar is gone forever; hoping there is a future for me; knowing the future is of my own making – holding on. Holding on!
To all those people who refused to help me in any way, you know what you did: you are imprinted in my flesh. To those people who held my hand and walked with me, you are inseparable from who I am going forward, giving me strength. Hold on. It has been a horrific journey, full of loss, unbelievable unkindness, the ugliest nature of man, and the truth about what it still means to be disabled in an able-bodied world. Reality comes crashing down on you when you lose your home, your sanctuary, and, you learn how truly different you are: and how unforgiving the able bodied world is of difference. You learn how much work there is still to be done to make us equal!
Beyond the implications of disability, it is a sad time: letting go of all I was, my history, my direction, my illusions, my hopes and dreams, my personal treasures, to find a new direction, re-invent myself, heal, recover hope and faith in man, to move forward without bitterness, to find physical comfort and stability. Today I must unavoidably look into the profundity of all that I really lost, make peace with it, or be destroyed by it.
I heal telling the story of the lady in the wheelchair, who lived through a great storm that changed the lives of so many ordinary people forever, and ultimately created powerful people, rising from the rubble, forged by adversity and the incredible strength of the human spirit to endure; the story of tens of thousands of people who begged for help and humanity from government agencies, and got nothing but empty promises, denials and delays; and the story of disabled people, thrown into the chaotic world of disaster that was unprepared for them, each different in his own way, people who needed just a moment extra, kicked into the floodwaters, to swim, or die. Many died!
We each have a story to finish: a journey to complete. I believe in you and me: survivors, because we refused to stop trying. We move forward, secure in the knowledge that we can be delayed, but never ever defeated. Home is comfort, and peace: where nobody can hurt you anymore; where nobody is disabled or able-bodied. People are just people. God Bless and bring home all Survivors of Superstorm Sandy and of U.S. Disaster Recovery failure. God Bless us all!