2013-05-24 / Columnists

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Left But Not Gone
By Eileen Hodges

I’ve moved to Florida. Just writing it sounds ridiculous. But with my bungalow finally being done and my still being sick from mold and whatever else, and the biggest draw of my co-heart moving to Florida, I left.

The video in the New York Times on Monday was heartbreaking. I feel like I am abandoning a child just when it needs me most…when it has a skinned knee, trying to get up, with no one sure if there are enough bandages in the house. Yet here I sit a few miles from the Gulf in another hurricane zone trying not to read every piece of reporting on the Rockaways, and ultimately failing.

I am not the only one who had to leave; there are many, many of us. But for those who did not, know that a large piece of our hearts and minds are still there, fighting along with you. Because we know that it is a fight, as well as a yielding. We have to fight for what the Rockaways need and yield to its majesty so we don’t get into the same trouble again with the next big storm. We are shouting and we are listening.

And while the fight goes on, we have each other. You up there, and those of us who champion the cause wherever we might be. Because this isn’t about me or you or a few of those who shout the loudest, it is about this summer and the many, many summers to come. It is about those who will live there and how to keep them safe and for the safety that dollars bring in the thousands and millions who will visit a new healthy beach and boardwalk and green space.

I will have my first grandchild in the fall. I will be back living in the Rockaways someday and I will take him or her to surfing lessons and we’ll eat tacos and watch for whales. In the meantime, I am a voice further away, but still loud enough to be heard over the surf.

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