Five days ago, my city was devastated by an EF5 tornado. We were shocked and stunned and heartbroken.
Four days ago, Mr. Jones and I packed our bags and headed to North Alabama for the long-anticipated wedding of my sweet brother-in-law. We left knowing North Alabama had no power. We left knowing there might not be a wedding.
Three days ago, we sat and waited. Power came on in our section of North Alabama. We watched the news continue to unfold. Our hearts continued to break. Good news rolled in and even without power, a wedding would take place. We kicked things into high gear to make a wedding happen, as close to what the beautiful bride had planned and worked for for more than a year.
Two days ago, I ran errands, helped the bride relax, and attended the most wonderful makeshift cancelled-rehearsal-dinner party you could have imagined. The love of friends and family was overwhelming.
Yesterday, Mr. Jones and I stood up as members of the bridal party as his brother and new sister-in-law said their vows in a darkened church, lit by candlelight. It was smaller than planned. But the number that came was astonishing. The reception moved to a small cafe, but it was more than beautiful.
We went to sleep last night absolutely exhausted, emotionally and physically. Many, many people have it so much worse, but I certainly felt like a yo-yo on the high-low pattern we were working.
This afternoon we headed home to Tuscaloosa. I am unloading, unpacking and trying to get ready for the week. I want to be able to volunteer my free time. I want to see my family.
Tomorrow I will see the devastation. I'm not sure I'm ready, even 5 days after knowing what happened. I need to see some friends who've lost so much. I need to help.
Tonight, I will decompress. I will write. I will check Facebook. I will plan how I can help. I'll have more information in days to come.
Thank you for being there and for all the prayers for our beautiful city.
It needs them now more than ever,