As I write this, it has been three days since the devastating tornado in Moore, Okla. Three days of my heart feeling heavy for the families who lost loved ones and especially those who lost children. I can’t imagine the terror of not knowing what is happening to your children while you are away at work, the horror of finding out where they are just to learn that they have quietly slipped out of this world. It’s a mother’s worst nightmare.
Before we made the “big change” and I quit working full-time, this fear of being separated during a disaster was one that worried me and eventually was one I experienced; certainly not to the degree of the families in Moore, but scary nonetheless. In the summer of 2011, while working in Richmond, one child in Henrico with our Meme and the other in Chester at the Goddard School, we had an earthquake. As you all remember, it was not devastating but sure did scare everyone. The minute I heard the roar and the earth began moving under our feet I felt completely out of control, I didn’t know what was going to happen next. When it was over, the phone lines were so jammed that I could not get through to either childcare provider. It was nerve wrecking, but not terrorizing, I knew that they had to be okay.
After hearing that both darlings slept through it, my heart finally quit racing. But the fear was there, during those seconds of the earth shaking, that I was not with my children. I am so very grateful that I quit that full-time job, no matter how tough it gets sometimes. I am now always within minutes of my boy’s elementary school, and my precious flower, when not with me, is at our church preschool, again only minutes away. I am secure knowing that if something were to happen I could get to them very quickly.
When watching the coverage on the Moore tornado, there was such a mother, one who was separated from her infant and toddler who were in a daycare while she was at work. She had no way of getting to them and then learned that the childcare facility had been totally destroyed. No one was able to just hop in his or her car and go looking; their cars were destroyed, too. Eventually a co-worker’s husband pulled up in a truck, the mother hopped in the back and off they went to check the hospitals. She called family members and had them look at local hospitals as well. Hours later she was reunited with her two boys at a nearby hospital. A joyous reunion to be sure, but the hours getting to that moment complete and utter torture.
Knowing that children lost their lives in this storm breaks my heart. I ache for their mothers. My worst fear as a mother is not just loosing one of my children, but that they might be scared and calling for me if I am not there. You never want your child’s last moments to be in fear and I have prayed daily that God gave those children comfort in their last minutes before He took them from this Earth. I am confident that He did.
Now Moore, Okla., has to put things back together again, and they will certainly do that. They seem to be a strong community, built on faith and love and I have no doubt that we will see them rise from this storm and ready for the next. There is a lot of controversy about safe rooms and storm shelters, and I hope that this horrible day will provide stronger safety measures in their community in the future. May God bless the people of Moore and may we all send our love their way.