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.