april is over. i’m sure i’m not the only person in alabama breathing out a sigh of relief right now.
for me, april was always a month to look forward to.
school is coming to an end, summer is around the corner, warm weather is approaching.
now, for me and so many others in this state, april is a month of anxiety. a month where, in my head, every small thunderstorm could excalate into something that would rip my life out from under me.
april 27, 2011 was a day that will live in the memory of everyone in this state. but, that isn’t where our story started. on april 27, 2011 our world had already been rocked. although the storms came close to us on that day, we were blessed not to be touched.
i’ll stop here to say that i’ve never been frightened of storms. i was that little girl sitting on the front porch with my daddy, watching the weather pass us by, while my mom hovered near the bathroom – mattress ready to dive under if things got too rough. i was the little girl who loved to play in the rain, and cried when the lighting began and i was forced to come inside. i was the little girl that thought nature would never touch me or my family on our little hill. i was the little girl who, apparently, needed a reality check.
back up two more weeks. april 13, 2011. i was at school, finishing up a few things to get ready for my final senior review (i graduated this past december). it started getting fairly rough outside and there are always a few that get nervous when bad weather comes around. i was quite the opposite, nothing ever happens here. i was told to knock on wood that nothing happens. ‘knock on glass to save my ass’ was my reply as i erached over and pecked the window behind me and got back to work.
then i get a call from casey. baby, i think you need to come home – there’s been damage to the house.
okay, we lost some shingles? maybe a window got busted?
or maybe a 125 year old water oak split in half and landed right smack in the middle of the house – crushing the roof above the room where we sleep and narrowly missing the room where my husband sat alone eating dinner. yeah, let’s go with that one.
let me insert here that this is our first house. it was my grandparent’s house. we got married while we lived in this house. we put our blood, sweat and tears into re-modeling this house. we had moved into it in october, less than 6 months before.
my grandfather had wanted to cut that tree for 30 years, my dad told me later.
all in all we lost 5 trees, a fence, a garage and most of a house. they told us it wasn’t even a tornado, just straight line winds. yet everything was twisted.
my husband was safe, but over an hour away from me – with the storm that had caused all the damage between us.
it took me about three hours for the storm to pass and make it home. i had one initial breakdown when i first saw the house with the tree on it, but after that i operated on autopilot.
we waited on daylight. it took two days to salvage our stuff, most of which went into storage. we moved in with my mom. people came to remove the tree. i went back to school and completed my review.
and there was a hole. in our roof and then in me. we were virtually homeless (thank goodness for parents or we truly would have been). we found out that casey lost his job (great timing, right?). my grandparent’s house was so severely damaged we debated tearing it down.
and then all of a sudden it was april 27th. and there were people who lost everything. lives, homes, families.
it made me realize i had all i needed. my parents, my puppies, my husband. my life.
so we picked up the pieces and we moved on. it’s been over a year now. casey got a job (a much better job). i got a job. we moved out into a rental. we are in a much better place than we ever have been. we have it good. but strangely, as we’ve finally decided that we are ready to buy (or, i can’t believe i’d actually consider, build) a house – i’ve found myself missing that little house on the hill.
really, i miss the feeling. we were poor, dirt poor. but we were very, very happy there. we were home. and it was ripped away too soon – like baby birds kicked out of a nest. and as far as we’ve came, this little rental has never really felt like home.
i can’t wait to have that feeling again. i’m tired of being fearful, or anxious. i want to be the girl that isn’t afraid of storms, and sit on my own front porch with my kids and watch the storms pass us by.
but i will always be the girl that knows it can happen to me.