This is Why I Grieve So Hard

Since things have been looking very grim for remaining at my homestead, I have been locked in grief. I weep spontaneously, and waves of anger come upon me when I least expect it. I have been crying and shouting in the shower, shaking with rage while the water pounds down. “Why did this have to happen? Why now?” All this is very new to me, and I try to wash it away, but I emerge still sad.

As much as I give effort to positivity in this situation, I seem to default back to grief. My husband is a positivity gestapo, making sure I don’t snipe when someone chirps something that hits me the wrong way. He monitors my social media comments, my blog, and keeps trying (in vain) to redirect me into a more positive emotional state.

However, if I can’t grieve, I will never get over this.

I have decided to try to put into words for all of my friends trying to cheer me up, all the reaons why I am grieving so hard by explaining what I have lost. This brief list doesn’t come close to describing the depth of the loss for me, but it gives some inkling of why I am so very sad. As you can see, I have avoided the tangible items I lost and focused here on the intangibles.

I’ve lost my comforts of home.

I’ve lost my routine, my sameness.

I’ve lost my convenience to my life, my errands, my synagogue, my work.

I’ve lost my future visions of an expanded family celebrating together in these walls.

I’ve lost all of the creativity I put into our living spaces.

I’ve lost my neighborhood that I love so dearly, as well as my neighbors who won’t be my neighbors anymore.

I’ve lost a place to live.

I’ve lost an address that has been mine for many years.

I’ve lost time.

I’ve lost security.

I’ve lost the safety of knowing my place.

I’ve lost my place on the planet.

I’ve lost a house that I loved.

I’ve lost my identity in a way. I was a Meyerlander-proudly, happily a resident.

I’ve lost NORMAL. Normal life is GONE, and I am grieving that too.

I haven’t had time or the brain to process where I will end up – it’s a giant unknown. When this kind of move is planned, there is closure – even if there is some sadness accompanying it. This shocking exit is a wide open gaping sore. It’s a decision that I had no control over, and my destiny was re-written by Mother Nature.

I watch other people going on and about in their lives and realize that my life and others impacted by the flood have come to a screeching halt- still in frozen limbo about where any of us will end up.

And so I grieve. Unless you have been through a trauma like this, a devastation, a major loss, you probably wouldn’t understand. So please bear with me.



  • Our house was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. I walked out my house one stormy Sunday afternoon after taking kids to swim practice and piazza and never came back to the place known as home. It was a terrible experience. I cried with every Thomas the Train figure I had to leave on the sidewalk, knowing my son was too old to want to replace but too young to pass them along them along. We lived in 4 places in 10 months, I feel like I missed my twins’ kindergarten year, I gain 20 pounds and wrinkles! I write this from a brand new house with everything I would ever want in a house and yet there is no emotional attachment at all whatsoever, I never got into decorating again (many fellow flood victims say the same thing). I keep thinking with every holiday and birthday celebrated I will grown to love my house but it hasn’t happened yet! We are actually considering selling it.people love happy endings so I always smile and say how great things are even though we are in a law suit as featured on 60 minutes and owe money we didn’t before the storm. Even now I’m tempted to wrap this up with a pleasant bow … So I will say that you will find some rainbows! I love my new washer and dryer and central air is the greatest thing in earth. I do feel closed to my kids and husband but also lost some people that really did nothing to help.., that was hurtful too!

  • I want you to know, one day you will stop what your are doing and say to your self, this new normal will be ok. It will take a long time but you will get there. In a couple of weeks it will be the 19th anniversary of the loss of our home, security, way of life, homelessness, grief and all of the things you have so eloquently described. Everyone’s journey through a loss like this is in some ways similar but also very unique. Don’t be surprised if after the busy work of clean up, making arrangements, putting somewhere to live back together that you have a new wave of emotion. Reach out, find some help to get through it if you need it. We are very capable as women and we tend to be caught up in just getting everything done, managed, fixed but that takes everything we have to give and more during events such as this. I’m here to tell you to take care of yourself, find the time to be alone and take good care, you’re going to need your energy, patience, strength for some time to come but if I may offer some little bit of assurance to you it will be alright again, you will smile with fondness over memories of your home, your belongings that were so much more than things, your life BF (Before Flood). Please know, my thoughts are with you and you will smile again.

  • You elegantly express your pain, your comments about losing your sameness and your routine express the depth of your loss.

  • My heart aches for you. Over the years I’ve read about people losing their homes because of natural disasters. You are the second person I know that has had to deal with this. Your blog has expressed the loss that you feel, the despair, but know that in time you will be able to handle this better. Live one day at a time and look forward to a new beginning. I hope and pray life gets easier for you.

  • I wish you didn’t have to go through this and your home could be saved. Sorry is just a word but I truly am sorry. I will keep you in my prayers because like I commented before, you have made something that is thousands of miles away from me a little more personal by sharing what you’re going through. I feel horrible for you and hope your despair finds its way out of you soon. Time is probably the only thing that will make you feel better and you’ve just got to get through each day, one day at a time. I’m very sorry.

  • I am utterly heartbroken for you, sympathize with you, hope for your spiritual and emotional renewal. You are a creative, energetic, giving, loving friend, mom, daughter, professional woman with so many talents. All the very best as you plod along in this difficult, life altering experience. Please do read Ed Reitman’s column in this last week’s JHV.

  • There were a lot of things I never understood until I withstood a shocking loss. Then it was all crystal clear. In times like these I think a lot about the song To Life from Fiddler on a Roof. “G-d would like us to be joyful even When our hearts lie panting on the floor.” I know you’re heart is panting on the floor right now.

    • Yes Andrea, you have to go through something to understand. And the heart is yep, around floor level. Thanks for thinking of me and lending support.

  • Arlene..I am so sorry and I understand…but you and your family are alive and well….I am sure there are things that can’t be replaced…..but you still have each other….I would gladly take a flood,loss of my home and things instead of losing loved ones. It goes to show everyone, we can all go merrily along in life…and in one day our life can change. As I always is easy to dance in the sunshine…but dancing through a storm takes strength,endurance and love….all which you posses. Sometimes things happen that change us forever, so we find a new normal…you will always have wonderful memories of your lovley home…but most important,you still have all the people in your life who you will continue to make new and wonderful memories. Your home lives in you…no one can take that away. Always wishing you well….♡♡ xo

    • We are alive, but we are not well… – the emotional toll this takes is unbelievable, the stess and exhaustion unbearable. It is not like a loss of a loved one, but the loss of a lifestyle, a home, a residence, a place in the world. A psychologist friend told me that is the next worst loss other than a person. It has to be acknowledged. And, gladly taking a flood and loss of home over losing loved ones – who would want either??? Why is there a choice??? Besides, people not going through this really can’t relate – I am just attempting to describe the emotions.

  • Again, when I read your words and hear your pain, the tears roll down my cheeks. There is no other way to deal with this tragedy other than the way you already are…with grief!! By writing down your feelings and what you’re going through, you may help others.

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