My sweet home place, my heart of the South, the little proud and furious and misunderstood state Alabama - I am sorry.
Seeing you left in pieces from Tuscaloosa to Concord to Pleasant Grove to Cullman is unbelievable. The people lost and the matchstick houses are haunting me when I close my eyes. We rode out the storm underground, humidly praying we would be spared the brunt of Mother Nature's force, and our wish came true. We returned to our fifth floor windows to find a clear sky mocking us, slyly evading the horrible truth: our city, our state was busted.
I was upset and moved to tears at my adopted city, Nashville, when it went through the tragedy of last year's flood. I am in shock at it now happening in my home state - after returning from being away so long - I am in awe of the terror inspired by a mile-wide demon who killed and upended lives, and I haven't been able to cry. I watch footage with mouth agape, hear stories of family friends who were killed, see landmarks I know that are nevermore. I was told of a couple who had a 4 or 5-day old child they had just brought home and the tornado hit, ending their happy family. The mother died - leaving this baby unable to ever know her - only to have those first few days - and it finally made me weep. The reality of all of it sunk in: We were all so close to his tragedy, and it could have chosen any one of us.
It skirted my building by a mile or two. It missed my family in Concord by less than that. I feel so lucky, but I feel silly to feel lucky. I am brokenhearted. I am sad for all those who are affected. I am helpless.
For whatever reason, I feel stupid to be writing about this, but I don't know what else to do. I can't stop watching, wishing it would somehow get better instead of worse. I have hugged and hugged my baby girl and given thanks for the bright shining day we had today. I sit in my house with power, with all my things, with all my family, with uncontaminated water and with a roof intact. We are okay. Still, it hurts. It aches because we have been torn apart as a community and as a state.
All those affected by this grand and grotesque event, you are in my thoughts. You are all in my prayers.
I love you, Alabama.