Do you remember?
In the days immediately following the storm, life was urgent, exciting even. Folks were overwhelmed by what they saw and experienced.
Ordinary men and women were called upon to be extraordinary, to rise above themselves, their fears and their self-imposed limits.
Some who lost everything soldiered on to assist others. The triumph of the human spirit carried the moment.
Then, later, absent the vigor of crisis, the daily soundtrack of sirens and choppers is long silenced, power grids come back to life, adrenaline rates slow from a raging torrent to a slow drip.
Days turn into weeks turn into months. So much to be done, yet so little happening; so much needed yet so little available.
Routines are shot to hell, with new schools, new neighbors, no neighbors, friends and family randomly dispersed and you can't find your doctor/vet/hair stylist.
Life becomes a nightmare of paperwork, applications, deadlines, bureaucracy, incompetent clerks, canceled appointments, unreliable contractors, intractable insurance agents, AWOL roofers, bloodless bankers and lines, long lines, everywhere and every day – lines.
And one day, the final insult: The TV satellite trucks break down and move on to the next story in the next town.
There comes the astonishing revelation: There is news elsewhere.
In a flash, your story disappears from the news cycle, the national conversation, the public consciousness.
Do you remember that?
Here is something I have learned: There is nothing the victim of a trauma, any trauma, wants to hear less than: I feel your pain.
But Superstorm Sandy has disappeared behind the fog of Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Fiscal Cliff, everything else, and a short-attention-span, single-issue American constituency forgets to remember the terrible, terrible ordeal of our fellow citizens.
As a new year dawns, it seems like, if anyone must not forget, it is us.
Which raises a question: What are you gonna do about it?
Remembering is a start, but what did remembering ever do for Slidell, the Lower 9th, Gentilly, all the rest?
Shouldn't we – the royal we – us, all of us.....do something?
Quite frankly, I have no idea what I can or will do about it.
But, God in Heaven – I feel like I should figure something out.
I feel so terribly inept, unhelpful.