You see just 2 days later on April 27th I woke up at approximatly 5:12 a.m to tornado sirens. I jumped up litteraly jerked kids out of bed and threw them in the hallway. E was not at home and my heart was pounding and my mind was in the same state as the weather, a tornado. I kept a calm exterior and just kept trying to reassure the kids over, and over again. By 5:45 we were okay but a neighborhood about 15 minutes from here had been hit and there were several people injured, and lost homes. Someone from my church lives in that neighborhood and has started picking up the pieces. We then began the wait. You see we were scheduled for more tornados that afternoon. I was a nervous wreck. My heart never stopped pounding as the local weather men and women became very serious and our state decided to go into a state of emergency BEFORE the weather came. All of the information we were given was preparing us for conditions that were favorable for "Extreme Devestastion". But what "Extreme Devestation" meant was completely left up for your interpretation. Schools and business were closed and very little activity was going on around town even though it was a beautiful day. Breakfast came and went....Beautiful. Lunch came and went....Beautiful. I attempted to get the kids down for a nap since we had been awake since the break of dawn but it was hard with the air being filled madness and mayhem tension. Shortly after lunch we WATCHED a tornado rip through the small town Cullman. I decided at that time it would be best for us to weather out the storm in the basement of a sweet neighbor and fellow church family. Josiah does not like storms to begin with and I could tell he was having a rough time dealing with the situation. Well, to be transparent I was too. I was a wreck inside. I had even seriously thought about driving south and trying to miss all of the storms but I feard that E would think I was a nut job so I stayed and waited. Since E was still not home and was in lots of meetings in another state he was oblivious to what we were dealing with.
Our town was scheduled to start seeing things at approximatly 4:30 p.m. At 4:00 p.m. I packed up a bag of snacks, toys and other things to occupy the kids and headed down the street. Approximatly 12 hours after being awakened by the tornado sirens I sit in the basement watching images from a tower camera. I couldn't believe my eyes. A tornado, a BIG TORNADO. It was unreal. I was amazed, shocked and somewhat disbelieve. I tried to text Ethan but was unable. I watched it come down 15 street (approximatly 2 miles from my home) and then we lost power. We moved to the safest place in the basement putting the kids under a table, trying to remain calm. We listened in on a battery powered radio but due to the basements structure we were struggling to get a signal. After 15 to 30 minutes my phone starts going off. Txt message after text message.
- Jamie: Were are You?
- Hanna: Are you okay?
- Madison: Are you okay?
- Mom: Are you okay?
- Kevin: Were are you are you okay?
- Kelsey: Are you okay?
- On and on
- Nana (MIL)
1st : Are the kids and I safe.
2nd: I need to contact these people and let them know I am okay the number of people looking for me is now in the 20's
3rd: Are we gonna stay here and where do we go.
No more than I get these thoughts together when my cell phone rings. I jumped because I am amazed that it is even working. I look down and see "E". It is then I fall apart. I answer and give him a very quick run down. I also ask him to call everybody and let them know I am okay. I can tell from his voice that there is part of him that thinks I am blowing this out of proportion. He is up north and he does not have any information about the goings on here. Well, over the next few minutes as I wait in my now dark house with 4 kids who-know-something-has-happened-but-are-unaware-to-the-magnitude run around playing with flashlights, E discovers the distruction. TUSCALOOSA IS LEVELED. With every call he makes he is given more info. One of his calls was with his boss who has a daughter at the University. They were not able to get in touch with her and did not know if she was okay. E informed him that I was having horrible problems with communication and tried to comfort them. When he called me back he told me he was glad that we were finding a way to communicate because his boss had not been able to communicate to there daughter. I quickly said, "She is fine she was able to get me a text after the storm asking me if I was ok." E replied with a little passion, "Are you sure it was after." After I confirmed it was after he pretty much hung up on me to call his boss.
These are the moments that culminated after the devestating tornados ripped through Tuscaloosa.
What is left of my church. (1.5 miles from my home)
looking at the church from a couple of blocks away (usually block by homes and business)
The Hobby Lobby (2.25 miles from my home)
Twenty three families from my church lost everything they owned another 2 dozen had severe damage to there homes. This is our new life: Rubble. It has been 41 days since the tornado and much about my life and daily routine has changed. I don't even know how to explain it. The first couple of weeks the kids bombarded me with questions.
- "Mom did Chuckie Cheese get hurt by the tornado?"
- "Mom did our church get built yet?"
- "Mom can we go to Taco Casa?"
- "Did (insert a friends name here) house get hit by the tornado?'
- "Mom are there gonna be another tornado?"
- "Mom why did God send the tornado?"
- "Mom what do you mean God allowed the tornado?"
This is hard. This is redirection. There are many needs that need to be met and my church family and I are in for the long haul trying to literally sift though the rubble and pick up the pieces while asking God to to guide us and show us what he wants us to do. So I ask you two questions.
What are you gonna do?
Do you know Him?