Almost all of us can provide details about what we were doing when we learned of the tornado heading towards Tuscaloosa that afternoon, and everyone can recall their initial reactions after learning of the devastation that came as a result of the storm. This is a brief yet true story about the evening of April 27, 2011.

I wrap up my baby and get her and my mom into the car. We start out of the neighborhood, careful to avoid as much debris as possible. Downed trees have been removed from roadways, but there are still small limbs and other debris.

We get to my house, and there's a yard full of people! Who are all these people and why are they at my house? Oh! It's just my brothers, sisters, and cousins.  Somehow, my house became the central location to meet up. All of us had been in touch with at least one family member. So, we were able to let each other know that everyone was okay until....

"Y'all heard about Jeremie and Sharetta, right?"

My heart dropped and tears welled. Yes, I'm slightly dramatic at times. "No, what happened?"

"They're okay, but their roof was blown off.  They had gotten into the closet just in time to see the roof fly off."

"Where are they now?"

"I don't know.  In a shelter or something.  Jeremie borrowed somebody's phone to call. I've been trying to call him, but it won't go through."

"Yeah, that seems to be the story for a lot of us. Phones just aren't working. Y'all wanna ride and look around?"

"Oh, you can't get through anywhere.  Almost all of the roads are blocked off. Besides, it's dark now. You won't be able to see anything anyway."

"That's true. I'll check it out tomorrow."

Before going back to my mom's, I decide to make a detour and see if I can see even a little bit of something.  Curiosity had gotten the best of me. I end up on a road where trees and power lines are strewn about. I see that I can't get through, just as I'd already been told. I'd only traveled 1/4 of a mile on that road, but it takes me 30 minutes to get out because traffic is at a standstill in both directions and the car behind me prevents me from backing out and is too close for me to turn around.  Every time I inch up and prepare to put it in reverse to attempt a 3-point turn, the car behind me inches up, too! Eventually, that driver discovers we aren't going to get too far and aborts the mission.

I get back to my mom's and have a quiet evening.  I prepare for bed and for the next day at work. Little did I know what that day would actually hold, as it was then that I became completely aware of just how badly the tornado had ripped through the city.

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