Oklahoma

Today's challenge was to link to a favorite posts from your blog. While watching the news I can only think of one post that I would like to write. So please forgive me for skipping the BEDiM today.

My heart goes out to everyone in Oklahoma. Tornadoes are devastating. Living in Eastern Kentucky we were always lead to believe that we couldn't get a tornado. That our hills would protect us. All of that changed On March 2, 2012, the town I live in was hit with an EF-3 tornado. We had a crude wake up call. Our safe world was rocked. We no longer thought a tornado would never touch us.

The weather predicted heavy storms with the possibility of tornado type wind. We not really believing we'd get all that.We stocked up on food to eat in case we lost power. We bought new candles, and batteries and paper cups and plates. All the staples you'd need if you were without water and power.We have friends that live a couple of streets up from us. (all of us are on a ridge line that runs along the edge of "downtown". They have a basement and invited us up to ride the storm out with them. We declined because we were still holding out hope that everything was going to pass us by.

 A little after 6 the wind started. Wes was going crazy. He sensed something BIG was about to happen. You could hear a train whistle even though we don't live near a train track. I looked out the window and it was like the scene in Wizard of Oz where debris was flying outside the window and the sky was black. Greg begged me to get in the closet. I wanted to see what was going on, but thankfully curiosity lost out and i climbed in the closet. It was loud outside. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Wind so loud it made you want to cover your ears.

It passed quickly, and we left the safety of the closet to see what the damage was. We were pleased to notice no damage. Maybe it wasn't as bad as the weather predicted....if only that was true. The silence was deafening. I never understood that phrase until I experienced silence that made me want to jab at my ears with something pointy. Anything to make the silence stop. We had no home phone. But I still had limited cell signal. I got a text from my sister that said "watching the news you were hit by a tornado. Are you alright?" I replied, "yes we are fine no damage." then my signal died. Little did I know she heard reports that we were hit again and decided to come find us.

Not knowing that outside the street we lived on was nothing short of chaos. Our street which over looks McDonalds is about a quarter of a mile from the hospital and about a half a mile from downtown. We decided to go check on our friends since the phones were dead. We get to the end of our street and turn onto theirs....we can't pass because there is a tree down. I move the tree because it was small. We drive a few feet and there is another tree down, this one bigger and we can't move it. We turn around and decided to try the alternate route to their house. It would take us past the hospital. We get almost to the hospital and the road is blocked....by a house. We turn around stunned. We just can't believe what we were seeing. Little did we know this was just the tip of the devastation.

Downtown is gone. The bank Greg banks with is gone. The police station, utilities, 3 banks, courthouse, and numerous businesses and churches...all gone.  The hospital is still standing but heavily damaged.
Here is our police station.
This is the view from the hospital looking down onto the town.
 
All of this was less than a mile from us. While this was going on we were sitting around listening to the news and trying to think of a way to leave town so we could get a message to people that we were alright. We go to sleep that night in disbelief of the whole situation.

 But those were hours that lasted days. We were too scared to be hopeful that anyone survived. We were blessed that only 6 people were killed. That is of course 6 people too many, but when you consider what it could have been. 6:00 pm downtown on a Friday? That was a recipe for mass casualty. We are so grateful that it wasn't worse. I am hesitant of even using the word blessed to describe it. Of course we were spared by the grace of GOD but that makes us feel guilty too. What made us more blessed than others, or more blessed than two churches, one of those churches was over 100 years old, the other my friends husband is a pastor at. Our friends had only minor damage. A window was broken and all of their outdoor stuff was destroyed. The tornado traveled through the field in front of their house none of their neighbors were spared, some completely lost everything. Survivors guilt is a hard thing.

Its now a year past the anniversary and town is starting to buzz with growth. There are still empty lots where businesses were. A grade school is still using an old warehouse for classrooms. But this is a town that isn't going to give up. They have vowed to rebuild and they will.

My heart goes out to Oklahoma in a way that it probably wouldn't have two years ago. I would have sat on my couch and said wow that sucks and said a little prayer for them, but I could change the channels and let it be out of sight out of mind.

But today I watch the tragedy unfold and I know what they are feeling. I know the emotions that are so varied and so strong you feel you must be going insane, because how can you be happy, sad, scared, excited, worried and guilty all at once? Emotions border on hysteria.  I look at the buildings that are torn apart and I feel the anguish, the worry, the sadness so strong that sad doesn't adequately describe it. I also feel the hope that they feel. Hope that they can rebuild, hope that they will see loved ones that are missing. Hope that this is the last tornado that they will have to face.I still say Wow that sucks and I still say a prayer but I can't forget about Oklahoma. I turn the tv off and my heart is still hurting for everyone in Oklahoma including one of my best friends from high school. She lives in Oklahoma  City, but got word to us quickly that she is fine but so many of her friends are not. I had nightmares last night, relieving our experiences. I feel I need to do something to help them in their time of hardship to honor those that helped us start our path of recovery and rebuilding.

Please pray for those suffering and if you can spare a few dollars please donate it.

****Update here are two ways to help*******

The Calipari Foundation will be donating $10,000 to the American Red Cross for the victims and families affected by this horrendous tornado in Oklahoma. I'm sure the Big Blue Nation (UK Basketball fans for anyone who didn't know) will continue to step up and help too like they always do. Text “REDCROSS” to 90999 for a $10 donation to help the tornado victims in Oklahoma.
BGCO Disaster Relief www.okdisasterhelp.com My friend posted both of these on her facebook as ways to help.

3 comments

  1. Oof. I remember first seeing the damage driving through there, a couple weeks after that hit. Most of the worst of the wreckage had already been cleared away, leaving just vast empty spaces and open foundations where buildings had stood. I remember having the strange feeling that the town had *evaporated*, the way packed ice on the ground sublimates during a winter thaw.

    My mental picture of "tornado" goes back to the one we had at Masterson Station, back in Lexington. Looking around after dawn broke, there was another small townhouse-row that I drove past every day. It was maybe a block away from the apartment. And it had the roof of the adjacent building sticking straight up out of it, like a large chip left standing in a rather small bowl of dip.

    It's surreal. Chaos, in the original sense of the word: the breakdown of all order and reason. The mind simply refuses to fully register what the eyes are seeing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that you mention it I was living in Lexington when that one went through too. It went right over our apartment and be oblivious to everything and Em sleeping in a swing by the pastio door. I felt like such a shitty mom. Its weird that twice I've had one above my head and never had any damage.

      Delete
  2. Oh, goodness. I'm so glad you guys were OK. But I totally understand the survivors' guilt. Our brains work in funny ways.

    My brain? Really distancing itself from the destruction in OKC right now. I just can't process it. This makes me feel guilty. Again ... brains = funny.

    ReplyDelete

Holly Grass. Powered by Blogger.

Follow by Email

Back to Top