Today it’s been one year since the Joplin tornado. Like most tragedies, in some ways it seems like yesterday and in some ways, it seems like much longer than a year since it happened. It was a night I’ll never ever forget. I was teaching and as the ladies were returning me to my cabin on table Rock Lake at Shell Knob, MO. We heard on the car radio that the tornado had hit Joplin and the hospital had been hit. As the weather came closer to where I was staying, with no basement, no phone and no cell service, I was seriously scared. The TV was working but it was a tiny little TV and I couldn’t read the names of the towns on the screen so I had no idea how close the tornado was getting to where I was located. The next day as the reports began coming in about the damage and devastation in Joplin, it was all so unbelievable . . so many lives lost, so many injuries, and though it hit home for so many folks, it hit real close to home for us — the placed we had shopped, sought medical treatment, eaten . . so many of them were gone and so much changed for the Joplin and Jasper County residents on the evening of May 22, 2011.
My blog readers so generously came together and sent quilts and Red Cross donations and that changed forever how I feel about blogging. Donations were sent by so many who didn’t have much to spare but wanted to do something to help. I am so thankful and still feel so touched for what you all did.
I will never forget the sights I saw in Joplin, or the people I talked to there. I think of Eddie often and wonder how he’s doing. He had lost his home and all his possessions but yet he was reluctant to accept a quilt because he said others needed it more than he did. Chad still eats at his restaurant fairly often and sees him there and says he’s doing fine.
My heart goes out to those in Joplin. Recovery takes a very long time. Buildings have been rebuilt, injured bodies are healing but things never go back to way they were before. I think of the young man who was returning home with his dad after his high school graduation and he lost his life. I think of the mom whose husband was returning home with their two young children and took shelter in Home Depot and the three of them lost their lives. There’s the Pizza Hut manager who got all the patrons into a cooler and they were safe and he lost his life.
On this, the one year anniversary of the Joplin tornado, God bless you all as you rebuild your lives.