Friday, March 15, 2013

One Year

This is right before it hit.  The kids were the only ones taking this seriously.  There had been two sirens and they'd been down in our designated safe room for 20 minutes.  
I, of course, was NOT taking it very seriously.  I was upstairs taking pictures of hail when it started to pass over our house.  An instinct came over me and I ran downstairs and held the door of the bathroom closed.  It felt like we were in a washing machine.  There was a sucking force.  And, yes, a freight train sound.  Which, living a couple blocks from the tracks, has been a PTSD trigger for me nearly 
every. single. night.

I don't have words for what happened or what was said or how I felt when it hit our house.  
I just have a strong wave of anxiety.  It was terrifying and without knowing we were in a tornado... I knew.  It was a weird knowing and unlike any other feeling I've had.  

When I thought it might be over I went upstairs.  I still didn't really know what happened.  It was like a dream state of shock.  This is the first thing I saw out the windows.  All the trees I could see were either uprooted or shorn off.  We are talking about massive 3-4 foot diameter 100+ foot tall trees.   
I think I started hyperventilating.

This is what I could see out of the windows on the other side of the house.  At this point I became terrified that we weren't safe inside the house, that more trees might fall, or there might be one on the house. I was also scared about our gas line.

These are all our yard.  It looked like a giant game of pick up sticks.  I was terrified to be outside and terrified to stay inside.  It was a nightmare.

It was an extremely traumatic event. The actual tornado, but also everything that happened afterwards.  The fighting with insurance and contractors... still, one year later, is something I don't think anyone expects.  And the energy for that after having been traumatized emotionally is almost impossible to summon.  My worry about the unpredictability and strength of mother nature is intense.  There are no simple thunderstorms for me anymore.  I'm very worried about the spring.  


Julie said...

Wow. I still can't believe a tornado hit you guys. It is so crazy. And scary.

I often think about the people who go through these major weather disasters, how there is all of the news coverage and then it 'goes away' for the rest of us. But those who are there are still living it.

Hope it is a very uneventful spring.

Brenda said...

I'm a post behind! But I commented a bit about this on your previous... ;)

running in alabama said...

Not to make light of your tornado experience...but, if you hit the basement when weather is ripe for it, I promise you, it can turn into routine. I live in alabama (google cullman alabama tornado 2011 - thats where I live) I say this to hopefully ease your trauma...ain't nothing but a thang. We freak over the idea of an earthquake, yet east coasters live with it constantly. The hurricanes? holy crap! tornados? neh *shrug* I have had some scary moments with them (I remember one spring watching them go overhead) but, nowadays, the weather stations are so aware that there is usually plenty of time to hit the basement...again, I'm not making light of your fear, I am just trying to ease some of it. feel free to contact me if it helps :) I feel where you are coming from!

running in alabama said...

*sigh* west coasters live with earthquakes...not east coasters :)

Mrs Furious said...

Oh, I've grown up with tornados my whole entire life. Tornado sirens and hitting the basement have been so routine for me in spring that I wasn't that concerned. It is quite a bit different when a half mile wide EF3 actually hits your house. It is a bit of a thang. PTSD is extremely common.

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