Yesterday will go down as one of the worst in not only my memory, but the thousands of Alabamians who lost beloved family members, friends, and livelihoods.
My day started with a phone call from my Mother a little after 5am, saying there was a Tornado Warning and why didn't we get the baby in the hallway.... just in case.
Her and my dad were going to get in their little storm shelter under the main staircase in our house.... just in case.
And as usual, Mr. Smith and I rolled our eyes at the Alabama spring time weather, woke up, and I laid in the hallway with Harrison.... just in case.
Once the winds calmed down and the sirens went off, we went back to bed, only to get another phone call from my Mother. "Everything's gone," she said. "The house, the barn, the outside buildings. We can't find the dogs or horses. The house is gone."
Shock. Confusion. Panic. And then helpless tears as I was just so relieved they were alive by the grace of God's hand holding up that staircase. I sat on my bed and cried like a baby, while holding my baby, who slept soundly while providing comfort to his Mommy. What had started out as a just in case scenario turned real in a matter of seconds.
A tornado - the first one of the day to make its way across our state had just taken out my childhood home, and yet we knew the worst was not over.
Mr. Smith, Sister, and I would watch later on as seemingly endless rounds of tornados spawned off - like some sick joke - to completely destroy my hometown of Cullman and their hometown of Tuscaloosa. And in some cruel joke, everything was caught on film. So we watched, literally, as these tornados made their way flippantly through our homes.
I don't think I've ever cried so much in my entire life. The absolute feeling of helplessness of yesterday was overwhelming and still is weighing down on our state today. I think no less than 6 tornados made their way through Cullman.
However, just like at the end of any storm... today there is sunshine. My parents are positive-thinking people, and I am still overcome at the generosity of family and friends who made their way to their home yesterday to salvage whatever they could before the storms of the afternoon made their debut. The dogs and horses were found. Pictures and other sentimentals were gathered. And my parents have a place to stay until the rebuilding is complete. And the Smith family is safe in Tuscaloosa.
And yet, many were not that lucky. Lives have been lost. Homes destroyed. And people are still missing. Getting on facebook to read status updates can be both inspiring - as volunteers start coordinating and galvanizing the troops - and heart-wrenching - as I read friends' status updates who have lost a family or friend, or worse - still looking for people.
The feeling of helplessness has to be one of the worst ever, as I sit here - ready to spring to action - on bed rest from last Wednesday's C-section. I'm a doer. A fixer. I like to get things done, get things organized, and make it right. And yet, here I sit with tears as I physically cannot do anything except care for a new life, ironically while so many lost theirs.
Pray for our great state. The people who were affected by the storms. The volunteers who are out there trying to put back the puzzle pieces of these cities. Our sweet home of Alabama is suffering.
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