Remember when you first heard about Sandy. You looked at that map that showed all the different possible tracks of the storm, and you just assumed it would go one of the other ways. We hardly ever get hurricanes, so we certainly aren't going to get this one, right? Doesn't that seem like months ago?

Well, it wasn't. It was less than two weeks ago, and a lifetime's worth of bad weather and bad weather related issues have dominated our lives in the past ten days. First the gradual elimination of the possibility that Sandy would miss us. Then it was the gradual realization that it would be a near direct hit.

Then there was landfall of this horrendous storm. No one will ever forget the sound of the wind or the sight of trees bent half over. It seemed to last forever, and in so many ways, it will.

Then the aftermath. The losses were tragic. People lost their homes and their property. Jersey Shore landmarks were simply washed away. And most tragic, people lost their lives.

When then dust settled as the storm finally left our area, for the first time we were able to begin to digest the utter devastation. Each of us began our varying degrees of the clean up process with blank stares of disbelief in our eyes. We forced ourselves to face the reality of the situation, many of us without power, heat or answers.

For many, the outages lasted for days, for many a full week and for too many of our neighbors, the power remains off. In the past few days, there were signs of progress, then another unwanted visitor trespassed on the Jersey Shore. Forecasters predicted that a signifigant Nor'easter was heading toward us, packing powerful winds and the chance of more coastal flooding. Really?

Then that storm seemed to be moving in a direction that would decrease our chances to get the high winds and coastal flooding, but did that mean we didn't have to worry about it? Not a chance. Not in these 11 days. 

The storm, now called Athena, dumped heavy November snow, on an already weary Jersey Shore, causing even more downed branches and power outages. And more stress and more disbelief.

Our hearts break for the place we love. Our Jersey Shore has endured an unprecedented 11 horrific days. 11 days that may take years to recover from and won't and can't ever be forgotten.