Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What's in 584.98 miles?

Hope, sadness, sympathy and tears.
Lord make me a rainbow; I'll shine down on my mother. 

It is 4:06 a.m. here in Bama and I can't sleep. By now most of you know I live in Tuscaloosa, but my heart is hurting for Joplin, Mo. When I heard of the news it hit a little harder than it normally would. I am not going to lie, if someone would have told me two months ago that Joplin, Mo., got hit by a tornado that had killed over 116 people it wouldn't have registered how traumatic that could be. 
 I opened my Twitter account on my Macbook earlier this morning and saw Anderson Cooper's tweet "The conditions here are miserable for rescue workers and survivors hoping to check on their homes," Cooper tweeted. "We're live in Joplin #ac360 10p." My stomach dropped and my heart sank. I couldn't fathom having to suffer through the amount of devastation they're facing and will face with time. It will never be the same there. I saw one photo and couldn't bring myself to look at more. 
 All this comes after the night two of my friends contacted me and told me about the Discovery Channel's show on the tornado damage across the South. They wanted me to tune in. There is no way I could ever watch that show at this point in my life. I still have a video that I accidentally took during the whole tornado. [I wanted to capture the tornado on the TV right before our power went out. As soon as I got my recorder pulled up our power went out and we ran to take shelter. I never hit stop and it recorded the whole event along with when we ran outside and everything thereafter until I realized it was still recording]. In three days it will be a month that my friends and me took shelter from one of the deadliest tornados in history. This is not something someone gets over quickly, or if ever for that matter. I can't spend time upstairs because it reminds me of the tornado. Every time I look out my staircase window I see the damage. Every time I drive to work I see the damage. It is harder than hell driving those dark, deserted and devastating roads at 3 a.m. each morning. I have learned to look straight ahead and not pay attention. If I blur it out then it is easier. 
 I will never forget when my roommate ran down the stairs and first told us of the news that it had took the lives of three people I knew. It was surreal. It wasn't registering. I was sitting in the dark living room, steadily rocking back and forth in my recliner. I remember thinking in my head "No, no they're OK. They're OK." My brother called their cell phones, I called their cells phones and little did we know what we were calling into. We were calling into devastation, long nights of not sleeping and terrible memories. 
 I will never forget the first time I drove down McFarland Blvd and had to see the damage. Tears strolled down my cheeks as I looked to my left and knew that is where so many people lost their lives. Like any other tragedy you don't survive it and put it behind you easily. You grieve, you cry and you barely manage from time to time. I have my moments like everyone else. I have my moments where I catch myself quietly remembering lying in bed to the sounds of medical helicopters hovering over my house. The night I had to sleep with my roommate, rather I say lay with my roommate because shut eye wasn't in the picture that night. I remember lying there thinking I was the only one awake in my house when the five other people in my house were awake also, but it was our time. Our time where we recollected and thanked God we were still breathing. I remember hearing the birds chirping and the rays of light beaming through the blinds that morning. I remember lying there with tears in my eyes thinking "They will never hear the birds again." 
 I relate music to events in my life and although I might not have known some of the victims of the wrath mother nature wreaked on my town, but I did get the chance to meet two and reconnect with another. I remember standing on my porch with my brother talking to Morgan about school and Picasso. I remember standing at my door as Blake ran by and made me scrape my toe against the bricks. I remember saying bye to Blake and Morgan in my staircase on my way to bed. I remember it all. I remember it so vivid it hurts. Every time I make the trip up those dreadful steps to my room I pass the place where I said my first and last goodbye to Morgan and my last goodbye to Blake. It hits home, so close to home, because that tornado took a turn. It took a turn towards their house when if it hadn't it would have leveled our house and not theirs. When I hear certain songs it strikes a soft spot and I start to melt. The world starts to slow down and my mind flashes back to the clouds, the rain, the strikes, the pain, the terror and the sounds. 
 Now I sit here with tears streaming down my eyes as I know Joplin, Mo., residents feel the same pain as I and thousands of other people have. As a month has came and almost went the pain is still strong, the memories are all too vivid and the reminders are everywhere. 

This song is bittersweet. 
The lyrics speak and 
the meaning hurts. 

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