As long as I live I will never forget yesterday! Oh, my sweet LORD! Torrential rains were pounding, wind was howling and swirling the rain blinding me. I had decided “a little rain won’t stop me; I’m going to make it home. If I’m going to die, I’m going to die at home with my family — NOT amid total strangers and definitely NOT at work!” Tornado warning sirens wailed. I could barely hear Mom speaking to me on the phone, but I had decided I was going to leave the anchor store I parked at and risk walking from the lower, northeast entrance to the mall to the southeast entrance where I parked.
I had to walk ever so slowly and that meant the rains pounding against my clothes, cell phone, and etc. I kept walking; despite hearing the rains and barely being able to see I plodded onward. I started shivering and just told Mom, “I want you to stay on the phone with me no matter what! Just keep talking; I don’t care what you talk about. Just talk about something! Anything!”
At one point I stopped by the doorway to the anchor store I left because they were vacating the store and sending everyone to the stairwells. I almost went inside, but I knew they wouldn’t let me back out once I got in and I’d never make it to my car. I stood shivering and trying to let some rain clear from my glasses. “I can’t see. It’s so blurry; I’m going to drown in this rain!” I started to say, but the other half of me persisted onward. “Just take a break; you CAN make this!” I nodded to myself and to whatever Mom kept talking about at that point. “I’m almost there!” I announced aloud to myself and Mom. “Just a little farther.”
Finally, about 10 minutes from when I first ventured out, I climbed into my car. Soaking wet and looking as though I had just taken a shower with my clothes and glasses on, I managed to open the door to my car, put Mom on speaker phone despite my fingers being prunes and soaked throughly, and proceeded to turn off the air conditioning and started my car. “I’m in!” I proclaimed and buckled my seatbelt. “Just keep talking; I put you on speaker phone and I want you to talk to me all the way home. Please! It will keep me calm.” I refused to listen to the music on my radio.
All I wanted to do now as get home, change out of these drenched clothes, curl up in a blanket (or a towel), eat dinner, and hug my family! My sense of touch was numbing; I was freezing. My eyes were very blurry and achy. My sight was nearly nothing, but I had to get home. The two senses I rely so heavily on were useless to me right now.
“Oh LORD, just help me get home safely! Please!” I prayed to myself as Mom droned on about almost everything imaginable that she could dream up. I had already informed her that 87th Street was a river (more accurately it looked like a bubbling brook) and she’d have to reheat my dinner. “Please have a towel ready for me. I’m so soaked,” I cried.
At last, I turned on to my street. Grant Avenue never looked better! It was just barely raining at home and I eagerly re-parked my car safely in the car port. “I’m home! Thank you, God! I’m HOME!” I cried (I’m crying again right now as I relive this moment and type it to you all) and opened the door to our garage (and eventually the Family Room — the room adjacent to our garage). Mom greeted me with a towel and open arms. I never was so happy to see home as I was right then and there.
The sirens continued to wail as I ate my dinner and watched the evening news covering the storm. Mom and I watched together. It was great to be home! Just today I learned that a tornado just touched down at the shopping area just northwest of the mall where I work. I didn’t ask when, but I can assure you, most likely I was already safe at home. I’m so glad to be able to report that I am safe and would do this again if I had to; I will never leave my family without me again if I have a choice!
Love and prayers (as always and definitely now)!