So I know you’re not really “my” family, but I’m calling you that anyway. You see, today, I spent the day in and around your home. You don’t actually know me, but by all of the things I saw and found today, I feel like I’m getting to know you.
Let me start off by saying how terribly sorry I am that your family experienced such a traumatic event. Mother to mother, my heart can’t wrap itself around how you must have felt…the wind, the sounds, the movement, and feeling your home being ripped apart while you were doing everything you could to protect your babies from the tornado.
I saw it today…the space where you and your family crawled out through. All I wanted to do was sit in your yard and cry, and a few times, I did. The damage, the loss, the fear that had to have been in your hearts…it’s all just so much to absorb, and I’m a total stranger. You actually lived this.
What kept me motivated today was knowing that you all made it out alive. That together as a family of 5, you all made it out. I had the honor of meeting a few of your neighbors today as well. I’m glad to know that many of you in your neighborhood know each other, and it makes me hopeful that the process of rebuilding the town will be something that brings people closer together.
I want you to know that every brick I moved, every board, and every piece of your home that I touched today, I handled as carefully as possible and with you on my heart. I tried to imagine as though you were standing right there watching, because I would want someone to handle my home that way. I spent the first bit of my time at your home looking specifically for personal belongings that were still recognizable. I found a few, and another lady helping found some baby photos. A little while later, another helper found a child’s birth certificate inside a special silver box, and then I came undone when she found a pair of beautiful white baby’s first shoes.
They are all safe now, inside a bin and covered so they won’t be damaged or lost in the clean up process. One of your very sweet neighbors brought over several bins for us to use to help collect your personal items.
My husband was able to get to some of your holiday china that had been set on your table. It was very obvious that you kept a lovely home, and we got as much out as we could. I found some of your son’s artwork and school projects. Don’t worry, mama…I got your back. They are in the bins, waiting for you.
While I was near the garage, I couldn’t help but get a little emotional when I found a piece of artwork that is titled, “A Home Blessing”…It is still in good shape, so that is in the bin as well….I set in there with it, 5 metal stakes. Those were also in your garage, and I saved 5…to represent your family. You are strong, you are safe, and I am thankful.
We will be back to help….whether it be at your home, or your neighbors, or the people on the other side of town, we will return. We are in this with you, and we will keep coming back to help rebuild your community. Thank you for letting us help take care of you and your home today.