Monday, November 18, 2013

In only seconds...lives change

There will be no silly soap post or raw milk rant this Sunday/Monday instead I'm asking for prayers for those in our area affected by yesterdays tornados.

Around noon Sunday high winds hit our farm and minimal damage occurred to our sons car hit by flying calf hutches (sans calves fortunately) Not too long after as the skies cleared and I went to my pc for nonsense time I saw some blurbs on my Facebook page about the nearby town of Washington, Illinois. (Just 40 miles West of us)

A large tornado had just ripped through their town destroying many blocks, leveling them flat. It took a couple seconds, and why is that? for my brain to register that my sister and her family lived in that very area.

I sent her a text

No response

A phone call

No response

An email

More texts to my other sisters, to my children

They hadn't heard from her either

Another text

Another phone call

My daughter who lives close and is also an RN, and I made plans to meet in another town and then drive over. The Facebook Page was requesting nurses and doctors in the area to respond.

And then as I was shoving my feet into my boots and thinking about what type of clothing I should grab, and whether or not my sister was buried under her house...and where were her children and her husband? Were they all together this Sunday, or were they scattered all over the area running errands, at friends houses?  Would we be able  to  even get to her home? What back roads should we take to avoid Rt 24 which would be congested? Was Raven able to find someone to watch her children while we were gone?

And then my phone rang and my missing sister was on the other end

She and her family were OK. And I was able to take a deep breath.

Just after that, I checked the Washington , Illinois Facebook again (information was flooding in by both reliable and unreliable sources) and a post appeared from the Illinois State Police stating that all help was being turned away at present. Doctors and nurses had responded so quickly that many were now being stopped at the edge of town, waiting for direction. EMS crews needed to continue their immediate rescue attempts and dealing with all the well meaning volunteers

And furthermore...the large number of people coming to help are making it difficult for rescuers to hear "cries for help"  So that cinched it for us. We would stay put, for now at least

The entire time I was trying to reach her took less than a few minutes, hundreds of seconds and yet it seemed like hours. Our family was lucky, spared for whatever reason but so many others were not. The tornado is now being estimated as an F4 at 166 mph. So far one death but all the official reports of course are not completed.

The offers of help, of homes to stay in, gifting of supplies has been amazing so far as I find myself glued to the Washington, Illinois Tornado Recovery Facebook Page  All night I kept thinking of my fellow nurses in the OSF system having to work double and maybe triple shifts to care for all the injured not to mention the patients already in the hospitals there (Peoria) But they are well trained for events like this and they will do, have done, an amazing job.

 During the night I woke with that nagging feeling like I should still go to our neighboring community to help, to do something, anything. But the requests of those in charge have been very clear. If you don't live in the area stay OUT of the area.  Curfews were set and those who broke them are being arrested. Large crowds coming just to look are slowing rescue efforts. They have more help than they can organize. We should wait. Our help will be needed for clean-up soon enough.

So please keep these families in your prayers.
And remember to appreciate your own while you are at it.


  1. So glad that your family and farm were spared, Mrs. Farmwife. I thought about you all when we heard the news of the tornadoes. Yes, the rest of us are counting our blessings this morning.

  2. Yes, i know about those few minutes that seem like hours when we are in Wait and See mode. I'm glad everyone in your family is safe and sound.

  3. Such disaster in minutes...So terrifying.

    In the midst of political back and forth, this event went unreported. Which is more important: political ping-pong, or human lives?

  4. Very glad that you have not sustained any damage but i truly do not know how you all live with the uncertaintly of a tornado arriving at any time. So much devastation in only a few minutes. Its mind boggling and frightening to those who have never experienced one. Be Safe and i hope that your local community and govt pull together to recover.

  5. We are lucky with our usually moderate seasons over here. Hope all goes well with you again, as I do for the Philippinos (and I'm not talking about your housemaid, btw). Sorry, bad joke I know, but they have such a great sense of humour in the Philippines, that I'm sure I will be forgiven.

  6. Oh how horrible. Those storms hit here too, but no tornadoes nearby. What good fortune your family is safe. Yes - all prayers here for all affected.

  7. So glad to hear your family is safe. Take care and help when you and where you can. Good to hear there was not a calf in the hutch.

  8. So happy that your family is fine and your farm wasn't hit. Know that y'all are in our prayers!

  9. It hadn't registered that this was in your area. Dreadful. Did these things always happen? It does seem as if they have become more common worldwide, or is it just that we hear about them so much quicker and easier. Good to hear that your sister and her family are OK.

  10. Donna, I am happy your family is okay. Our little homestead is 7 miles sw of Washington. Four farms in a one mile radius of us are gone, we got some damage but are very very lucky to still be here. Our neighbors actually saw the twister jump over our house - it then hit the farm house about 1/8th of a mile from us and reduced it to sticks. It goes to show you just never know when or if...

  11. When I saw your photo, I thought it was in the Philippines. So glad to hear you and your family are safe. Lives can change in an instant. I hope we always remember that, and as you said, take time to appreciate it.
    Tom Stephenson is absolutely right about Filipino humor. Saw a photo on Facebook with a sign board that reads: need house and lot, car and swimming pool! LOL! I have to say though that we (Filipinos) are sensitive about housemaid jokes. ;-)

  12. Glad your family is ok! I was shocked to see the damage as well. Illinois is in my prayers.

  13. So glad you all and your sister and family are safe! Tornados are terrible! We had a really bad one through here in April 2011, and people still talk about that one. Having got caught out in the peripheral winds of another tornado, I can't imagine the fear of those who have lived through one when another strikes.