My name is Amy

My name is Amy. (Oriented to person … check)

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Springfield, Missouri. (Oriented to place … check)

It’s Thursday night. I think. Wait, let me check my phone … (Oriented to time … barely)

I can’t hold on to what day it is today. It’s becoming a bit concerning. I’m holding out hope that it’s not a sign of my impending break with reality but; instead, because time moves differently when you’re in crisis mode. Life right now does not seem to be flowing in minutes, hours, and days. Life right now is disjointed; it’s jumping from moment to moment.

Here are some of those moments. They all definitely happened today. Although it’s possible they happened yesterday. There’s also, of course, the slight possibility they happened the day before that:

  • CNN filmed a live news report with the crew putting tarps on my roof as their background. I suggested to the crew that they should sing or dance – they did not. Sadly, fame is apparently not for them. One of them said they should hold up a FOX News sign. That would be hilarious … on someone else’s roof.
  • Our neighbor’s Escalade was demolished. I’m not sure what landed on it but it was big – possibly a tree or another car or a house. However, two of the Escalade’s windows remained unbroken. Truly it would have been irresponsible to leave those windows untouched, so my husband and the neighbor (the owner of the Escalade) dutifully picked up bricks (bricks formerly of the neighbor’s house) and threw them into the remaining windows. Neighbor’s Wife and I stood by shaking our heads. (Although you know if there’d been any other windows left they would have been all ours!)
  • I have flown into absolute frenzies trying to salvage everything in save-it-all moments! Paperclips, dental floss, flower-shaped erasers, those little odd-shaped Lego’s that are impossible to find except when you step on them in the middle of the night – find them, save them!
  • I’ve stood resigned to just leave it all. We don’t need any of it. Everything we need is up at my parent’s house most likely eating chocolate chip cookies for breakfast.
  • I stood with my neighbor in her backyard looking at her decimated house. She told me how it “exploded” right after they ran into their safe room. How she had to hold the door shut. She didn’t cry when she told me about her home exploding around her family. She stood there staring at her crushed home and told her story in a matter-of-fact tone. Then, she looked away from her home and saw her daughter’s crushed Barbie house sitting in a pile of debris. That’s when the tears came. It’s one thing to look at a demolished home. It’s another to be reminded of your child’s loss.
  • We helped arrest looters. The looters (aka bad guys) told a Quapaw Tribal Marshal that they were there to visit their friends. The marshal asked for their friend’s name and the bad guys made something up. Keith and I confirmed for the marshal that the made-up family did not live in our neighbor’s home. Handcuffs were placed on the bad guys. Within a few minutes, the marshal was joined by the Joplin PD, a county sheriff, and the National Guard. Bad guys should probably stay away from Joplin.
  • We received phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, and emails from our friends and family around the world. Those were the moments that bolstered us for moments like this next one …
  • We watched search and rescue dogs sniff around our piles of debris. We stood by not sure what to hope for in that moment.
  • We found my wedding dress – dry and intact.
  • We pulled up to our home to find that the huge tree in our front yard and all the debris surrounding it were chopped up and cleaned up by a friend’s husband and a work crew sent by my husband’s company.
  • I felt compelled to write, my attempt to help sort these and other moments.

 In the midst of all these moments, some of my friends and family have sent us donations to help us through these initial days. As soon as we’re able, we plan to pay that kindness forward to others around us in even greater need. I’ve been lost in my moments so I haven’t taken the time to thank all the angels in our life who need thanking. I will soon. But for now I hope some of them read this.

Thank you. You have truly been our lifeline.

34 thoughts on “My name is Amy

  1. Don’t worry about thanking us, Amy…we’re happy to do what little we can do to help you get through this!

    Thank you for letting us know what’s happening…a first-person account is so much better than a news report…

    Sending you hugs and strength,

  2. Amy, you and your neighbors throughout the Joplin area (and other states affected by the tornadoes) remain in our thoughts and prayers. Though we are not there with you physically, your virtual friends within the blogosphere are sending their love and support. Please continue to keep us posted, if only to help you work through the whole mess (literally and figuratively).


  3. Amy although we haven’t met, I feel that we are connected! I am Dwight’s mother. And I love him & your sweet brother Casey so much. Casey got me interested in your blogs. My prayers are with you & your precious family. So thankful your family are all safe! Material things can be replaced. Look forward to reading all your posts and blogs!! Prayers, Mae

  4. Thank you, Amy. You have the answers to a lot of the “What if…” questions in our minds. We now know it is possible to survive such a thing, and that brighter tomorrows are on the horizon. Keep looking up, for whence cometh your strength. Chocolate chip cookies for breakfast…. 🙂 Have you had yours yet?

  5. The story about your neighbor looking from her real house to daughter’s Barbie house is extremely powerful. Thanks for sharing all these observations. I can’t imagine what it’s like to even try to track time in a week like this.

  6. Thanks for sharing all of this, Amy. Your ability to coherently record all of this information is remarkable. Though I don’t know what you’re going through, this helps me better understand how to pray for you and those in Joplin. Thank you for helping all of this be a little more tangible for those of us who can’t be there to help in person.

  7. I don’t even have words that seem adequate. If I knew you in “real life”, if I were there, I’d only be able to hug you. Here’s a big mental (((HUG))) from Iowa. (yeah, that was corny, but I mean it.) Thank YOU, by the way, for sharing such deeply personal stories with us.

  8. Amy I’m watching my friends go through some of the same processes I went through after our house fire. I saved wet, smoky insignificant items because they were MINE or belonged to my mother–they HAD to be saved. I still have unusable totes of items in my shed. Insurance replaced the necessities. It was a mental need of mine at the time. I could focus on small things, like a doll house, because it was manageable. I couldn’t yet deal with the big picture so the details became amazingly important. Much love to everyone as we all work through this grieving and healing process.

  9. Amy…I don’t know what to say, really. I’ve been a reader of your blog forever, and you’ve mentally helped me through some sticky parenting moments. Whenever I can look at my children and remember your words on the snow day – “I don’t appreciate the humor of this classically humorous situation,” – then I feel a little connection with you, and I know I’m not the only parent to feel this way, and I can calm down and feel my sanity start to return…just a little. Yours is a face that I know out there in Missouri, and yours is the family I think of when I pray for all of you – I pray for everyone in Joplin, but in my mind, I’m picturing you and Molly and David and Emily and Keith. I hope knowing that prayers are going up for you from here in Virginia can help you get through this…just a little.

      1. Hi Amy –
        I’m just checking in, seeing how you’re doing, as my dad would say. National news moves on to other things – I read something about attention spans being short…what was I talking about? Oh, yeah – I wanted to let you know that my family’s still thinking about you. I’ve realized I have no idea what it would be like to recover and rebuild and whatever else you must be doing now and for the last three weeks; all I know is, it’s got to be tough. Hang in there. Lots of people are still praying for you, even though you won’t read about our prayers in the news…”I’m praying that the people of Joplin find honest plumbers who can hook up the water so the toilets will flush”…probably not going to get picked up on the AP wire. So even though you don’t hear about our prayers, know that they’re still going up for you. I hope everything’s okay out there. And that if you don’t already have flush toilets, you’ll get them soon.

  10. We will continue to pray for you. Your ability to blog about this is therapeutic, I’m sure. Your spirit and sense of humor are inspiring.

  11. I am mesmerized and devastated by your posts. Praying for everyone in your community – that recovery and healing come quickly.

  12. “Everything we need is up at my parent’s house most likely eating chocolate chip cookies for breakfast.” – That’s the only thing important, everything else can be fixed. Hang in there and stay safe.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

  13. Thank you for reminding us what is important.

    You tell this story in a beautiful, heart breaking way. You make the destruction real and human.

    Just keep moving forward. One step at a time.

    And let me know how I can help.

  14. I’ve had you and your community in my prayers! I have grown up with the reality of tornados and I know rebuilding takes time so I’ll keep praying through the process.

    So glad you and your family are safe.

  15. I think evil is a horrible and just..appalling act. I can’t even comprehend it.

    Thanks for sharing blog…and don’t worry the kids had chocolate cake today for breakfast not cookies =)

  16. Thank you for posting these blogs. I feel fortunate to be able to experience this event through your writing. It’s important to feel connected even during a disaster. Best of luck!

  17. Why haven’t all your current posts been tagged as Freshly Pressed? Your story, told with your sense of humor, need to reach people who want to know more about this horrific act of nature. Hang in there.

  18. Have so enjoyed living in the’ Trenches’ with your family over the past couple of years. Your insite always inspires, now more than ever. Know that my family holds yours in their heart. Hope you get a hug from a chocolate chip cookie soon. Love Bill

  19. OMG Amy! I’m new to your blog … found my way here through another’s blogger’s link. Joplin … OMG … you live in Jopin! My heart and prayers have been with Joplin since I first heard the news when I returned home from the cottage that weekend. It’s much more personal now and I hope you will find a way to keep your readers (us) posted.

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