A week ago, on Good Friday, our area of middle Tennessee was hit by some pretty ferocious storms. When one is in Tennessee and one says "ferocious storms" you can just go ahead and assume it was a tornado. My family watched the storms pass, staring at a TV screen, from a safe distance in a restaurant where we were eating lunch. Some other folks were not so lucky. In Murfreesboro the house of John and Kori Bryant and their 9 week old daughter, Olivia, was in the direct path of an F4 tornado. The news images of their house in the aftermath looked as if a bulldozer had scraped the house completely off its foundation. Not a stick of structure remained. Sadly, the tornado claimed the lives Kori and Olivia and left John in critical condition.
I do not know the Bryant family but I have been haunted by this story ever since hearing it. Maybe because I'm a mom of a brand new baby girl too. Maybe because I've been a new mom and remember the amazing joy that comes with the birth of your child and it seems incomprehensible that a family should experience such joy and such pain in such a short period of time. They should have had years of mundane moments, frustrating moments and boring moments - the stuff of real life - to live through before having to separate over the horizon. My heart aches for Kori's mom, who lost her granddaughter and her own baby girl; and for John Bryant, who is now facing a future he probably never, ever, imagined.
A memorial fund has been set up at Bank of America to help defray John's medical bills and the funeral costs for his late wife and daughter. If you are in the middle TN area and have heard about this family, you might consider contributing. You can do so on-line here. Yesterday I sat in the bank's drive-thru with a whiney Small Fry and a fussy baby girl, waiting to donate and thanking God for the millionth time that my kids were safely in the backseat.
I wish my donation could bring back Kori and Olivia, but of course it can't.
I wish it could have crystalized for me why such an awful thing happened to probably normal ordinary good people, but it didn't really do that either.
But at that moment it was the best I could do to make sense of such a terrible thing.
Please keep this family in your prayers.