A Serious Case of "Survivor's Guilt"

Home Stager

I have a serious case of "survivor's guilt".  There are still so many people here in Connecticut without electricity after Satruday night's freakish October snow storm.  I hate to admit this but, at my house we never lost power and I can't help feeling terribly guilty about that.  

How did we get so lucky? Why couldn't more people be so fortunate?  Of course we did lose our phone, internet and cable, but how could I dare complain about that (especially since we had it back by Tuesday morning).  At least we had electricity, heat and hot water.

I was on Queen Street in Southington today and I was shocked to see the number of stores and businesses that are STILL without electricity and/or phone service.  It would seem logical to me that businesses would be the FIRST to be restored.  The losses these businesses must be suffering from being shut down for 5+ days must be absolutely devestating!   How can this be happening?  

I went to the Southington Library yesterday and I just couldn't believe the number of people I saw typing away on their laptops.  Extra tables had to be brought in.  Those who weren't on their own laptops were patiently waiting in a very long line to use the library's computers.  While this was painful for me to see, I found it heartwarming the way people seemed to be taking it all in stride.  Spirits were pretty high, considering.  I heard a lot of people sharing their stories.  Many were thankful.  After all.....it could have been worse.  

I did my best to purge my guilt.  I invited friends to stay the night, store food in my refridgerator, cook on my fully operational stove, do laundry, take a hot shower. Some came by just to charge cell phones, laptops and ipods.  But I still felt just horrible and I still do.

There are people who are STILL living in the dark, in the cold, in homes that were badly damaged.....this is the most destruction I've ever seen in my town of Southington.  Schools were shut down for the entire week and will hopefully be open on Monday.  I am looking forward to everything getting back to normal.  Oh what a year it has been!  From blizzards, hurricaines, flooding, an earthquake.....to trick-or-treating in the snow.  Can't help wondering, what could possibly be next?

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Karen Bernetti is a Real Estate Stager, Former Realtor®, Author, Speaker, and Owner of Staging4Smooth Transitions - specializing in assisting seniors with their downsize moves and offering Home2Home Transitions seminars. Karen is also the Social Media Manager and Administrative Coordinator for Prudential CT Realty, in Madison, CT and Co-creator of the Ready2Sellin30Days System - an interactive multi-media program teaching do-it-yourself homeowners EVERYHTING they need to know about preparing a home for sale. Stay up to date on the latest staging and home decor trends by visiting Karen & Ann's Home Sale Success Blog.  


Comments (16)

Jayne Esposito
Coldwell Banker - Morgan Hill, CA

Don't feel quilty, you did what you could in offering your house!

Nov 03, 2011 03:33 PM
Mary Macy
Top Agents Atlanta Metro - Roswell, GA
Top Agents Atlanta Metro

What is really scary is that it is just October, hope you just had the worst storm of the winter and it is over for you, just a normal winter from here out.

Nov 03, 2011 03:34 PM
Juli Vosmik
Dominion Fine Properties - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale/Cave Creek, AZ real estate 480-710-0739

Karen, it's so great of you to offer your personal home to others during this crazy time.  We, of course, heard about the original damage, but for so many to still be without the basics 5 days later?  That's got to painful.  Thanks for pitching in - that's what makes a great neighbor!!!

Nov 03, 2011 03:35 PM
Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986.
eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com - Victoria, BC
Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490

Hi Karen,

unbelievable, the amount of devastation, and how long it takes to get basics restored, it does make you wonder about how much more we can handle. We are so fortunate in our area for the most part.

Nov 03, 2011 03:43 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Karen, This would be a perfect post for paying it forward. Opening your home...how generous. Appreciating what we have is so important and you make that point well.

Many of us could survive without electricity but not so sure without phone and internet. Hope your town is restored quickly.


Nov 03, 2011 03:47 PM
Karen Bernetti
Southington, CT

Thanks Jayne - I know I shouldn't but I do!  

Mary - I'm hoping for the same

Juli - Just doesn't feel like enough

Mr & Mrs. Pfanntastic - we're all counting our blessings!

Margaret - I'll admit it - I went crazy without internet and finally broke down and learned how to access it from my cell phone - which I was quite fortunate to have btw.....a lot of people also experienced poor cell phone service as well due to damaged towers.  I was spared in that respect as well (which only added to my guilt!!)

Nov 03, 2011 03:54 PM
Tatyana Makarov
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - South Windsor, CT
Your Greater Hartford Area Realtor

 to Well, Karen,

We still don't have our power restored... since Saturday night. And now CL-P tells us that it will be back on on Sunday at 11:45 p.m. (seriously, they gave us that time)

It is absolutely terrible with two children. When it is 49 degrees in the house... We finally went and bought a generator at Sam's club today :) and it is nice and warm.

But I don't think you should feel quilty at all.

If it will make you feel better, try to offer your home to your friends so they can just warm up for a little :)

Nov 03, 2011 04:02 PM
Karen Crowson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Rancho Bernardo, CA
Your Agent for Change

I'm really feeling guilty reading this. It's November 3rd, and today's the coldest day we've had in months. Probably about 66.  Sun was shining this morning, but this afternoon we got an itty bitty amount of rain. Feeling very spoiled reading the news accounts in the east.

Nov 03, 2011 04:29 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Karen, in some towns, we have pushed Halloween to Nov 5th - no power, no Halloween!

Nov 03, 2011 04:32 PM
Karen Bernetti
Southington, CT

Karen - please enjoy your weather!  

Praful - I know that many towns in CT postponed Halloween which was probably a good idea - Southington did not.  The damage was so sporadic - some neighborhoods were hit far worse than others.  Apparently there were enough neighborhoods that had power - they just urged parents to exercise extreme caution - with powerlines being down in some areas and dangling tree limbs all over the place.  Fortunately our neighborhood was safe - which made me feel even more guilty!         

Nov 03, 2011 04:44 PM
Karen Bernetti
Southington, CT

Tatyana - I hope your power is restored soon.  I wish I understood why some towns are restored quicker than others.....who makes THAT call and how in the world do they go about it??  

Nov 03, 2011 04:47 PM
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Karen--I think it is great that you were there and had power and could offer all that assistance to others.  That is a gift in itself, which I am sure they all appreciated. 

Nov 03, 2011 05:25 PM
Peggy Chirico
Prudential CT Realty - Manchester, CT
REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate

Hi Karen - You were lucky! I didn't begrudge anyone who didn't lose power even though we were without it for 8 days. I was happy for those who had it restored early. I said I would let anyone into my house if I got mine back, but by the time I had mine back, so did all my friends.  You offered your home and your electricity and your friends were grateful you did.

Nov 08, 2011 01:15 AM
Karen Bernetti
Southington, CT

Janet - please tell us what it's like there in Maui....I'm sooo jealous! 

Peggy - 8 days is quite an ordeal!  So sorry you had to endure that.  

Nov 08, 2011 02:06 PM
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

That is exactly why you were spared. God knew he could count on you to share with others in need! He wanted one of those folks to spend time with you. He had a plan. No need to feel guilty! :))))

Nov 08, 2011 04:15 PM
Barbara Altieri
Better Homes and Gardens RE Shore and Country Properties - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Karen -- I only lost power for a little over a day and couldn't stand it.  I cannot even imagine being out for a week...and more in many cases.  You are right about the businesses. If they don't have interruption insurance, they have surely suffered.  Let's hope we have a nice, calm winter. After last year, can it get any worse?

Nov 09, 2011 05:16 AM