tornado alley

I’ve tried but I simply can not get the images and news stories from Joplin out of my head. I live hundreds of miles away, but this tornado struck 50 miles from my parents home. I remember when they moved from WI years ago, my mother insisted on finding a home with a basement. With the solid rock around those parts, houses with a basement are hard to find.

Last night, I learned there are 1500 people unaccounted for. This morning I watched Anderson Cooper share a story of a mom & dad trying to get into the morgue to find their 12 year old son. They aren’t sure he’s there but a neighbor had told them he saw the body and stood over him until authorities could take the body away. These parents have been to the morgue the last 3 days. They have been told each day to fill out paperwork and they do so. They still haven’t been let in to identify a body or even confirm their son is there. They are now being told it may be up to two weeks.

I can not comprehend this.

There’s another story of Will Norton. The boy who was driving home from his graduation with his father. His seatbelt snapped and his father believes he was sucked out the sunroof. He has yet to be found.

I can not comprehend this.

Our move has placed us back in tornado alley. We have been in our new home for 6 nights. We’ve had several rounds of nasty weather. The first tornado warning occurred when I was getting my nails done at the new nail salon. The owner and I discussed whether we should head to the storage room in the back. The sky was black, the wind was blowing but it was still raining. It doesn’t rain during a tornado right? All I could think of was all of those people in Joplin that had been at Home Depot that was destroyed. Simply going about their errands on a Sunday night when tragedy struck.  Last night were more tornado warnings. Mike and the kids were at the Club. I panicked and called him approximately 14 times about whether he had the kids or were they in the kids play area? Should he drive home quickly or not? All the radar showed the storms in the northern section of county. We are in the southern section. Looking out the windows I saw sunshine but dark clouds miles away.

That’s the tough part, the miles away. Having grown up in Wisconsin, the sirens in the summer were common. I remember sitting in the basement while Dad was at the top of the stairs standing out on the back stoop watching the dark clouds roll in. How many people in Joplin did the same thing on Sunday night? While growing up, the sirens would happen but the tornadoes, luckily, never hit. I’ve read that several people in Joplin thought the same thing on Sunday night. Another storm with heavy winds that will just pass on by.

I struggle with how I can help. I can text Red Cross and donate $10 over and over. Somehow this just doesn’t feel like enough. I want to get those parents into the morgue. I want to find some of the unaccounted. I want to not feel so helpless in helping a huge group of people that were just going about their Sunday night as so many of us in tornado alley usually do.