On the night of October 09, 2018. Tommy and I went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. The tv was on. My phone right next to me, plugged in all night. I can’t remember exactly when did I hear the news about Hurricane Michael turning into a Category 4 storm. All I remember is that I needed to secured my home. I took a couple of mattresses and put them against my bedroom windows. I nailed a drawing board on some of the windows . Then I went to Tommy’s bedroom and took his mattress and I put it on top of the bathtub in his bathroom. I gathered water. Canned food and snacks and put them in the same bathroom. Thinking if we get trapped in the bathroom, a least we will have water and food.
I continued to board anything I could find to rest of them windows and secured the couches against the french doors in the living room. I was afraid. I don’t think I have ever been that afraid in my life. I was afraid something would happened to me and Tommy would be all by himself if that happened. I packed some clothes and documents in my car in case we needed to leave after the storm. It was finally 11:30 am on 10/10, the wind started to pick up. The power went out. I knew the storm was here already. Later, I looked out the front window and there was a tree laying on my neighbors house. It was time to go into our little homemade bunker. I took my phone and went into the bathroom with Tommy. It didn’t sound so bad until the house started to rattled . The wind was so loud it was hard to listed to my own thoughts. Tommy asked, are we going to be ok mommy? I said yes my love. God is here with us. Let’s pray. And we prayed for a while until he said he couldn’t breathe. I felt the same. I was dizzy, light headed, short of breath. The wind got even louder and the house felt like it was going to just take off. Fly away. Windows started breaking. The Walls shaking. And I lost it. I started screaming to God for a miracle. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was going to faint. Sweating hot and cold. Tommy was also crying and screaming. We hugged each other hard. Until he finally went to sleep or fainted. I am not sure. That gave me a little peace. He couldn’t listen to the anger of the storm tearing everything away. My phone never lost reception. I kept texting my family every few minutes. We are still here. We are ok. And then after what it felt like an eternity, the storm started to calm down. We came out of the bathroom and said Thank you Jesus. Thank you lord. Started walking to the kitchen looking for damages. The living room had about a foot of water. The couch holding the french doors worked. But the kitchen windows were busted. Broken glass, dirt, branches, water was everywhere. I headed to the garage, still assessing the damages. But nothing could have prepared me for what was waiting for me outside the door. The tree gone. Houses demolished by the winds. Water almost knee level. It seem to me like the end of my world. But I was so grateful. We were unharmed. These pictures and videos describe some of the things I saw. And you can also hear my first impression when I walked outside. The neighbors ( some I had never talked to before) checking on each other. God granted me the miracle I asked him for. We were alive! That night, before we went to bed, in the dark. I took Tommy out front and we looked at the stars. They were all there shining bright. It really felt like the calm after the storm. We were so shaken up we forgot to eat. Tommy said mom I’m hungry. Then I realized. Oh Goodness! We haven’t eaten! I fixed him a sandwich in the dark. Then we finally laid down to get some rest. Tommy went to sleep right away. I couldn’t get to sleep. The sound of the storm was stuck in my head. And for some reason I couldn’t stop crying. I literally crying myself to sleep. A couple of hours later, the holy spirit woke me up and told me to look up. Immediately the ceiling collapsed on us. And just like in the movies, I grabbed Tommy hand and snatched him out of bed at the same time the sheetrock, insulation and roof pieces landed in the same place we were sleeping in just seconds before. It was another miracle. We moved to the only room without any damages. My art studio!
Two days went by, I kept pacing around the house. Thinking how can I clean up? There is not enough water for that. Then I thought people will start looting and breaking into homes. Stealing. Looking for water or food. I felt safe having a gun with me, just in case someone broke or walked into my house. Since I had no windows or doors. I need to get my car out of the garage and leave the county. But the garage door was stuck in the doorway. Part of the roof, attic, ceiling and all sorts of decor laying on top of my car. But that didn’t stop me. I had to take Tommy to a safe clean place. I tried to move the metal garage door out of the way and collapsed on me. I hurt my left hip so bad, it still hurts. But I managed to set my car free. I packed some water, snacks and my gun into my car. And Tommy and I left town. Headed to Nashville where my good friend/brother Otto took us in. It was so sad leaving. Not knowing when we would come back or if we were coming back.I drove for about 10 hours. With the radio on. But the sounds of Michael were all I could still hear. It was a very humbling feeling to get to a place with electricity, running water and warmed food to feed my child. I had made it. We were safe again.
1 year has passed since that devastating day and I think I got over my PTSD, I no longer cry as much when I think of what we all went through. We are alive. We are a miracle. People lost their lives, relatives, homes and businesses. But we are here. I thank My Lord Jesus Christ for keeping us and all of you safe through this storm. Let’s not be sad when we think of Michael, let’s be grateful that we are here and that we learned to appreciate the things we took for granted.