Sandy: Five years later - LI couple struggles to bounce back
Vanessa Ingrao and her husband Chuck got married three days before Superstorm Sandy hit, went on their honeymoon and returned to a home full of sand and water.
"I cried the first six months of my marriage on a daily basis," Vanessa says. "Every day."
The stress from Sandy led to depression, followed by an addiction to anti-depressants.
"It went on for three years," Vanessa says. "He and I were at opposite ends. He was on a medication that put him down here and I was on a medication that put me up here and we just weren't even close anymore."
The couple did recover from that crisis, but they are still recovering from Sandy. From filling out paperwork to fighting for financial aid, foreclosure and a contractor who allegedly took their New York Rising money -- about $97,000.
Vanessa and Chuck are now hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. To help pay the bills, they opened a small waffle restaurant in Long Beach last year and are now asking their customers to help other hurricane victims. They're collecting the donations in Long Beach.
The couple are closer to moving back into their home, but Chuck says if he knew then what he does now, he "would put the keys in the mailbox and walk away," adding that he "would want the easier life."
And while their situation has been difficult, the struggle has made them stronger.
"Our love is strong enough to battle this," Chuck says. "I think we can get through anything."
"We have our lives and we're together, and so I am happy and life is good," says Vanessa.