Our Story Part 2

What happened to us on June 5-6. I've tried to stick to the facts as much as possible. Yes this is about our father, but to totally understand where we are coming from you need to know our whole story. Our father has had a stroke, my mother is dead, and my sister and I have had a front row seat to her death. We are one of a kind, and that makes it hard because no one can truly relate to us. Yes if you have lost a parent or had a very sick parent you sort of get it, but it isn't the same. We haven't been through the worst experience ever. I would be naive to think that there are not more traumatic things to go through, but we are the only 2 people who have been through something like this. There isn't a support group for us (although I am looking to start with a support group to see if that helps ).

June 5: I had to work that morning, but I had already made up my mind to go home. Mom was down playing how serious it was and trying to get me to wait until they had heard more from the doctor, but I knew it was serious. I left work a little early, and headed to Ohio.
I met my sister at the parsonage. Since I had driven from Indy Amy offered to drive us to the hospital.

We went and saw dad. He did not look good, but he was happy to see me. At around 10:15 dad sent us home.

We packed up our things and headed to the parking lot. That is when the tornado sirens went off. Security came out and had us go back inside and sit in a consultation room until the warning expired (for Lucas County). Then we returned to the parking lot. Mom was exhausted and I offered to ride with her, but she insisted I ride with Amy.

We headed back towards Wauseon. Amy and I usually listen to a Detroit/Windsor radio station, but we switched it to a local one because of the weather. There was no mention of a tornado warning for Wood County. With the rain and the wind, we were not going too fast as we followed our mother down I 280 and on to St Rt 795. We even passed an EMS squad looking for tornadoes, but they did not stop us. They didn't see it coming either.

As we approached Lemoyne Road we saw “green lightening” (transformer boxes being hit by the storm). That caught our eye first. When we looked straight ahead again, there was another flash of lightening. That is when we saw the tornado coming right at us. That was about the time they finally announced the warning for Wood County. We tried to get mom's attention and get her to pull over. We even thought she was going to pull over right by Lake High School, but she got back on 795. We couldn't leave her, so we followed her further into the storm. I was trying to get to my cellphone, but it was too late. The storm picked her car up and swept it away. I ducked and covered my head, but then looked up to check on my sister. I saw something hit mom's car and then it headed our way.

I screamed at my sister to get down and pulled on her arm. She ducked, but wouldn't let go of the steering wheel. I had to cover her head with my left arm. It was probably only a few seconds to a few minutes, but the feeling of being airborne and debris hitting the car is one I will not soon forget.

When I felt the tornado put us back down, I sat up. Debris was still hitting the car, but Amy and I were okay. I could see mom's car off the road, and I could hear her horn blaring. The top of her car was peeled off like a banana. The car had been put down with so much force the frame was warped. Still, I had a small bit of faith that if we survived with minor injuries, so did she. The car was totaled. The front windshield was caved in, but didn't shatter on us There was debris lodged in the front of the car tearing out the axel. The back driver's side window was shattered, but what ever came through did not hit us. The rear window was also hit, but it did not totally shatter. Our car came to rest on top of part of a grain silo.

I immediately called 911. It took what seemed like forever for them to pick up. That was because the Lake Township Police station/dispatch center was hit just before we were. I was patched through to Northwood.

I told the woman I was getting out of the car to check on my mom, and was ordered to stay in the car. She told me Lake Township would be there soon and ended the call. I tried to call my brother, but he was trying to call mom so the call went straight to his voice mail. He called me just after the first responders arrived. Amy and I declined medical attention and told them to check on our mom. My hope she was okay was melting away by the second, and it was totally gone when I saw them have to pop the hood to cut the horn. At that moment I was pretty sure it wasn't good.

After making me hang up on my brother, the first responders asked us who had been in the car in front of us. We told them it was our mom. That is when they told us she was dead. That was the second worse moment of my life. I am sitting in a totaled Chevy Cobalt in the middle of 795. I am covered in glass, twigs and other debris. My mother is dead, and I have no idea of who to call or what to do. I called my brother and told him the news. He was understandably a mess. My friends are 4 hours away. My father has had a major stroke. Scared and alone we called anyone we could think of to help us.

After an hour and a half we were finally let out of our car. Our Aunt and Uncle had arrived, along with one of our mother's best friends and the Highway Patrol wanted to get us away from the crash scene. They kept us at the scene for another half an hour saying they needed to get statements from us, but eventually just let them take us back to Bay Park .

While we were being triaged we actually accidentally met Heidi (the head of the ICU), and we told her what had happened and that we needed to talk to Dr. Narra. . There was another tornado warning, so he was in the hall, and we would have to go to the basement. Once the warning was cleared they had a room for us to stay in and they would get us some scrubs to change in to.
The nurses called Dr Narra for us once we were upstairs. He came and checked on dad first thing that morning. He told us we had to tell him, but he would be there to keep an eye on his stats. The worst moment of my life was having to tell my dad that there had been an accident. We had been hit by a tornado, and Amy and were fine but mom didn't make it.

Everything since then has sort of been a surreal blur. Amy and I basically lived at Bay Park Hospital until dad was moved to UTMC for rehab. We planned a funeral, tracked down life insurance policies, moved out of the parsonage, been dealing with dad's condition, and so many other things as we try to move on. On top of everything, just trying to figure out why we are still alive may have been the biggest challenge. This isn’t how my life was supposed to be. I keep hoping I will wake up and it will all be a dream. I'm 31 years old and somehow I became the parent of this family over night and I have no idea of what I am doing.

Losing a parent is hard enough. Losing a parent and having to become the caretaker of another at the same time is something I never wish upon any one.

The one feel the most sorry for is my dad. He has lost the love of his life. He gets stronger each day, but still it has to be hard to be trapped in his own body. He is dependent on us to take care of things. His stroke would have been awful if mom was still alive, but things would be so much different.


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