Last night I had a panic attack. I thank the Lord for cell phones and Xanax, or that thing would've lasted all night. It's tornado season, and this one has been a doozie. Every year tornadoes cause lots of devastation in Alabama and cause lots of people to spend time in their basements when they'd rather be anywhere else. But never in my life has tornado season hit so close to home. Yesterday a series of tornadoes broke out and moved across Mississippi and Alabama tearing down everything in their paths. The death toll was in the hundreds. I had known it was coming all day - we had even moved into the basement at 5:30 that morning for a storm coming through. Schools were let out early and everything shut down. My migraine that is working on its fifth week has not slowed down, so the sirens blaring and the news scrolling across the TV screen was making it worse. Just before it was time for us to go to our basement, the weather man began reporting a tornado touchdown in Tuscaloosa on the same street as one of my best friends lives, and down the street from another best friend of mine. Then, the word "fatalities" followed. It was a quiet panic attack. Worrying so much I was shaking. And there was nothing I could do because they storm was upon us now. The rest of my family went up first to see the rest of the storm once we were safe, but I could barely make it up the stairs. I finally heard from my friend in Tuscaloosa Amy that she and our other friend were safe, though Kelli's house was damaged. That was all I needed for last night, and I could sleep.
Today has been a kind of surreal day. Knowing that those closest to me are safe, but not knowing about others, is a strange sensation. Hearing and seeing bits and pieces of the catastrophe makes it hard for me to put a real picture in my head. From just north of Birmingham all the way to Tennessee has no power. Other cities have no power or water. My family was lucky to only have a tree fall on my dad's carport. We also had shingles and insulation from houses that we will probably never see. They came in last night with a debris cloud. One of my brother's friends from school found a Mississippi license plate stuck in a beam in his yard. The beam was holding up a birdhouse, or something. It's amazing what weather can do. I've been avoiding the really gruesome details as much as I can. I checked on Kelli again, because I just couldn't stand hearing about her and not from her. Her house now has only two windows intact, and their side porch collapsed. My friend Sarah's future sister-in-law's house got destroyed while she was up here in Birmingham. Exams at the University of Alabama have been cancelled, except for the law students and the medical students. Which makes me feel faint, because I just remembered another friend of mine who's in school down there that I haven't checked on. Wow, mini panic attack. He's ok. When bad things happen this close to me, I take it very personally. When I can't see it, I'm not bothered so much. I looked in my Little Book of Calm, and it told me that it's ok for me to cry a little. It relieves the stress and soothes you physically and emotionally. So, it's ok to have a quick cry when you're worrying about all of your friends and loved ones all over the state. And just remind yourself, that it'll get better everyday.