None of you know this, but last year my husband and I (along with thousands of other people in our community) lost our house to a huge tornado that ripped through our city last year. My mother-in-law’s place of employment was also torn down, therefor turning their lives upside down as well. She is still unemployed, even after a year of looking. I’m not writing this to get pity or anything, but more as an inspiration and an idea of what a community should be like.
When I first moved into town, I really didn’t like it here. I am a country girl by nature, so I would rather be in the country than the city. I love doing things like gardening and my garden was starting to look good until that fateful day in May. I remember it like it was yesterday instead of one year and two and a half weeks ago. My husband and I were letting one of his brothers live with us at the time and he had his girlfriend over. My husband and I were at his parents’ house just across the street visiting with them, and one of his other brothers and his family. We were just sitting outside shooting the breeze when the wind started to pick up a little bit, and it started to storm. We didn’t really think anything of it because that’s just what the weather here is like. It could be super nice one minute, then raining and blowing the next.
Once it started to rain a little harder, my husband and I decided to walk back home (again, it was across the street). I started up the computer, not giving it two thoughts. Then the power started flickering, so I quickly shut the laptop down. I looked out the window for a second and saw a garbage can flying down the street. When I say flying, I don’t mean it was tumbling down the street. I mean it was AIRBORNE. So I thought to myself “Oh sh–!” and at that moment my brother-in-law and his girlfriend came running down the stairs, and my other brother comes busting in through the front door to see of we’re okay. (His wife was super angry about that, btw, and rightfully so!)
So we’re scrambling for a place to hide when I remembered we have a closet under the stairs (we never used it, THANK GOD!) So I shuffled everyone into the closet, and my brother-in-law that we were visiting with earlier went in last so he could hold onto the door handle. No sooner than we got that door shut did the front window and the second bedroom window bust out and send glass flying into the dining room where we were just one second before. It was the longest half hour of my life with the five of us huddled in that tiny little closet under the stairs, saying our prayers. And just as fast as it started, it was over. Our house was destroyed, and our lives were forever changed.
This is what our house looked like after the tornado. It doesn’t look that bad, but it looked a lot worse before we got all the holes covered up. It wasn’t enough to prevent a massive fungal bloom though, which is ultimately what destroyed our home.
Immediately following the tornado, almost everyone in our neighborhood pretty much gathered at my mother-in-law’s house because it was the only house that was almost unscathed.
This is what her house looked like after the tornado. You’d think it would have fared worse than ours, but thank god it didn’t!
This is what the neighborhood looked like, and we were only on the EDGE of the tornado. The majority of the city that got hit fared much worse than we did.
St. Mary’s Cross, just a few blocks from where we live. I do not claim to own this photo.
This is a random picture that I took while surveying the damage about maybe a week or so after the tornado.
It still amazes me how quick even just regular civilians responded after the tornado to help people and, as a tragic consequence, help find our deceased. The fact that a community can join together and help people that they don’t even know is nothing short of inspirational. I will never forget the people that immediately came from all over the U.S. (and even one guy from Japan!) to help us.
As our house comes closer and closer to being finished I think about all the volunteers who took the time out of their lives to help us rebuild ours. Just thinking about it, I’m sitting here crying as I type. lol I hope that our community can continue to keep up this same spirit of hope and selflessness and pass it on to others
We got our house completely demolished during the summer of last year (August I think?), but our foundation wasn’t poured until January. It was a very mild winter, so it was doable. A few months later, on March 16 of this year our house FINALLY started to get built. It wasn’t really that long, but it seemed like forever to us.
Now, almost 3 months after the house started being rebuilt, it’s almost done! We got our power hooked up today, but there seems to be a short somewhere, so 8 of the 21 lights in our house don’t work at the moment. The first time I saw my husband turn on the kitchen light, I automatically started crying (like I’m doing again right now). It seems like we’re getting so much closer to moving out of his parents’ house (bless their hearts for letting us live with them and putting up with me haha) and moving into our new home. I’m so happy I could cry… again!