Scores of New Yorkers lost loved ones in Hurricane Sandy, including one Staten Island woman lost her daughter and her husband who's still struggling to move on with her life. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
What used to be the Dresch family home has long since been leveled. The Tottenville property is nothing more than a vacant lot.
When the water came, Patricia Dresch, her daughter Angela and her husband George fled to a second-floor bathroom and held on.
The water rose to their chests, the roof buckled, and Hurricane Sandy ripped the house from its foundation.
Angela's body was found on the lawn, and her father's body was found several blocks away.
"In a flash, my family was gone," Patricia Dresch said. "I was thrown around, tossed around that night. It was my faith that got me through it that night. I was rescued by a flashlight, a little pen light, and I was brought to the hospital, and I survived. I don't know how, but ask the man upstairs."
Dresch spent months in the hospital recovering from her injuries. Her daughter and husband were among the island's 24 Hurricane Sandy victims, memorialized Tuesday at a replanted garden just a block away from the old Dresch home.
Dresch didn't attend that ceremony, but she did turn out earlier in the week at a special Hurricane Sandy mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
That's where she spoke with NY1.
"With the support of my family and friends being there right next to me along the way, that's what's getting me through it all," Dresch said.
Dresch was the first Hurricane Sandy victim to sell her home back to the city for its pre-storm value. That's allowed her to buy a new house, also in Tottenville.
"It's bittersweet, yes, that I'm moving on, and it's strange how the house came to me, the money came to me and I bought the new house right at the anniversary, you know?" she said. "It's very overwhelming. I'll be moving on again, I hope, and leading a new life."
When asked whether she'd ever considered leaving the community where she and her family have lived for more than 30 years, Dresch answered immediately.
"I have to stay in town," she said. "This is my roots. Tottenville is my roots. I can't go any other place."
Still, she says, her new home is away from the water.