Her arms bear the scars from the night Superstorm Sandy took her Tottenville home, her husband and her daughter.
“All of a sudden a wave came, it took me and I just floated away. I was tumbling around in the rushing water, watching the houses spin around me, next thing I know, I landed on land,” Pat Dresch said.
Like many Staten Islanders, Pat and George Dresch decided to ride out Sandy in the waterfront house they called home for nearly thirty years. When the storm started to get serious that night, Pat huddled with her 13-year-old daughter Angela, in the second floor bathroom, hoping to be protected from the rising water and whipping winds.
“I said, ‘We’re all going to die.’ And Angela said, ‘I don’t want to die Mommy, hold me, I’m scared,’ ” said Dresch.
The strength of Sandy’s surge turned out to be too much, and the house started to collapse. The roof blew off first.
That is when her daughter was ripped from her arms. “Something slid, like a piece of the roof, and hit us in the head. That’s when I lost her. And she was gone. i knew she was gone. I knew she was dead.
The water was too high,” said Dresch shaking her head as she wiped the tears rolling down her cheeks.
She said she could hear her husband George yelling for her and for Angela. Images of that horrifying night haunt her dreams every day.
“This morning, I had a dream I was on a train and it started filling with water and the train started tumbling down the track. I woke up screaming and clutching Angela’s pillow.”
Police found the bodies of Pat’s husband and daughter buried under the rubble.
Her husband died just before their 30th wedding anniversary. Her daughter died much too young.
“Every day I think of her. I talk to her, I talk to him. That’s all I can do.”
Dresch is back at work, as a teacher of religious studies at a nearby church.
Her next step is to sell her property and try to find a new place to call home.
If you want to help her, the family started a fund:
Dresch Family Fund
C/O TD Bank
126 Page Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10309