What If

I have been asking myself one question lately, but with different circumstances. "What if" has been plaguing me lately. How would things be different?
1) What if the doctors at Fulton County would have done their jobs?
2) What if KISS FM would have actually been taking the storm seriously and keeping their listeners informed instead of playing Lady Gaga?
3) What if I had been in mom's car?
4) What if I could have gotten to my cell phone?
5) What if she would have pulled over?

I keep playing these scenarios in my head. What would life be like now? My initial answer always is: She would still be alive. Dad may still be recovering, but he would have mom by his side. She would still be here to take care of us and keep this family together.

But here is the reality:
1 and 2: Okay these two are the ones that make me mad because these are the true ones. I will always blame Fulton County Health Center for my mother's death. Had they properly diagnosed Dad, we would not have been at Bay Park. We never would have been on 795. I also think KISS FM was negligent. It was a very severe storm. It was a very dangerous storm. However, instead of keeping their listeners informed, they played music. They didn't come on between songs with updates. Okay so we missed the initial announcement while we were waiting out the Lucas County warning, he but for a storm that dangerous they should have been keeping people in the loop. Had we heard about the warning, we would have turned around and gone back to the hospital.

3)I was almost in her car. She hadn't slept, and I wanted to be in the car with her to keep her awake. My hand was on the door handle, but she yelled at me to get in my sister's car. Yes I know that had I been in mom's car at the time it was initially hit by the debris, I would also be dead (I can't explain why that same debris didn't come through our windshield or how we are alive, nor can the national weather service). Is there some glimmer of hope that maybe mom didn't see the tornado and maybe I could have been the voice of reason? Maybe she would have pulled over or turned around if I had been there? Do I feel guilty about this? Yes. However, anyone who knew my mom knows this wouldn't have been so easy. She was so stubborn we either would have argued about it until we were hit, or I would have had to throw the door open, out my finger on the seat belt release and threaten to jump if she didn't stop (which BTW I so can see me doing and we were only going 5-10 miles an hour). Even then by the time we were out of the car, we never would have made it to safety. Had we laid down on the side of that road, all three of us would have been impaled by debris.

4) When we saw the tornado, first the girly screaming commenced. Then, I started yelling sarcastic comments at the guy on the radio who was just *now* telling me about the tornado warning. Then I tried to get to my phone. We were both screaming at mom and trying to get her to pull over. I didn't get to my phone in time, but it was right there when the storm put us down and I called 911. It is hard for people to understand, why didn't just call her. I was just about to get hit head on by a tornado. I was pretty sure, we weren't going to make it. I was a little frantic. Second, realistically 1) mom wouldn't have answered because she was trying to drive in the storm or 2) I would have been on the phone with her as she died. While part of me wishes I had been so she wouldn't have been alone, selfishly I'm glad I wasn't. I'd rather have the last thing my mother said to me be her yelling at me to get in Amy's car than listening to her last moments alive. I have to live with what I saw that night. Hearing it would be worse.

5) Mom pulled over once right in front of Lake High School. We were relieved. Then she pulled back on to 795. We couldn't just leave her, so we followed her knowing the odds were not in our favor. People were in Lake High School when it was hit. The school was the tornado shelter for some on the nearby communities. Those people survived. Theoretically, we could have gotten out of our cars and attempted to run to the safety of the building. However, we didn't, and honestly I'm not sure we would have made it had we tried. 1) The tornado's forward motion was around 55 mph. We were already too close when we first had a visual.2) We aren't a graceful bunch I'm sure it would have been like a slasher movie: we'd each fall at least once. 3) Again that ground was so covered in debris, and with a direct hit like that there is no way we would have stayed on the ground had we tried the lay flat approach.

There really isn't a good reason why all three of us didn't die that night. Had we not epic failed tornado safety 101, my sister and I would have died. I can't explain why we were spared, nor can the experts. I knew we were in trouble when I saw the tornado. I was 100% sure we were dead when the debris came straight at us. I was certain I was impaled when the back window broke in on me (the angle we were at should have meant what ever broke the window came through and hit me), but I was in shock and couldn't feel it yet. The only reason I knew my sister was still alive before I looked up is that I could hear her screaming. Somehow when I looked up, we were right side up, the car was totaled but the interior was intact, and we were okay. It doesn't make sense, but somehow we made it. I am grateful, but I can't stop thinking about what we could have done differently to save her too. Still, every scenario I run in my head turns out the same or worse.

Right now, just don't get it.I know there has to be reason why all this happened, but right now I just can't see it. Until I can, all I can do is live life a day at a time and hope I make the right choices for me, my dad and my siblings.


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