Moore, Okla. tornado: A parent's worst nightmare

A parent reflects on the unimaginable loss of the children who died in the tornado in Moore, Okla. on May 21, 2013.  Photo: Mom carries her child through a field near the collapsed elementary school AP photo

FORT WORTH, Texas, May 21, 2013 — Yesterday morning as parents in Moore, Okla. dropped off their children at school, they never dreamt in a million years the kids wouldn’t be home for dinner last night.

The day was like any other day in the suburb just south of Oklahoma City as folks went about their daily lives. They probably paid attention to the weather forecast of expected storms later in the day but not real worried about them as most of us do who live in tornado prone areas. The order of the day is to focus on tasks at hand and worry about the other stuff later.

We are not in denial; tornadoes are always in the backs of our minds when storms are expected. But more often than not tornadoes do not develop. Sooner or later, however, the unthinkable happens.

Little girl pulled from the school’s rubble AP photo

This went through my mind as I took my 6th grader to school this morning. Weather experts are calling for severe storms in north Texas today with a good possibility of tornadoes.

With this news, a shiver traveled the length of my spine yet worry does no good. It has never yet stopped a natural disaster from happening. So I will go on about my day waiting and watching. What else can a parent do?

While writing this article an email was delivered to me by the school district:

“Monitoring the weather to ensure the safety of our campuses is a top priority for our district and first responders around us today. We will notify you via a phone call through our SchoolMessenger system with any urgent weather news such as threatening weather or a change in dismissal plans.”

The students and staff are well practiced with the Severe Weather Plans in place if the weather becomes dangerous. Each school in the district has designated shelter areas within the schools to use if necessary. My how times have changed. It’s good to know they are on top of it as I would imagine all school districts are throughout the tornado watch area.

As humans we’ve explored ocean depths, built a place to live in outer space, dammed billions of gallons of water to provide electricity for the masses, cured or at least contained killer disease. But we will never, ever, ever control nature. As much as we like to think we can, nature always sets us straight.

Frightened boy rescued by First Responders AP photo

In the last several years the world has seen an  unprecedented tsunami, violent hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, devastating earthquakes, mind-boggling blizzards, and more. There is no place on earth that escapes the catastrophes native to our planet.

At times like this, it is easy to see why some people develop phobias. In the face of such devastation, some people lose hope in the future, knowing that we cannot always evade natural disasters.

They are part of the world in which we live and they are not going to stop any time soon. The best we can do is prepare for the worst and come together when it does happen.

With this in mind I would like to ask readers to pray, send white light, positive energy and/or even just good thoughts to those who are suffering. Charities like the Red Cross and Salvation Army can always use help in one way or another to better serve those in affected areas.

In the coming days we will hear news of unimaginable loss and suffering as well as little miracles that always seem to shine here and there in such destruction.

But until then, hug your loved ones today and tell them you love them. Let go of grudges. Live in the moment and be thankful. Stop petty squabbling and focus on what is important. Life. All life has worth and value — and the people of Moore, Okla. know it this day more than any of us at the moment. For we never know when it will be our turn.

Read more:

Moore, Oklahoma tornado: Search and rescue continues, 91 dead (Video)

Tornado alley: A way of life for Texans (Videos)


Read more of Claire’s work at Feed the Mind, Nourish the Soul in the Communities @ The Washington Times and Greater Fort Worth Writers.

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Claire Hickey

Claire has held a Texas Cosmetology License, Certification in Surgical Technology and has decorated cakes professionally. She believes that life is a banquet to be experienced and wants to learn and do as much as possible while she’s here. This Stay @ Home Mom has always loved to write and thanks to the Communities @ The Washington Times has got her chance. Her curiosity and writing lead her to create her column based on “garbage in garbage out” theory to provide interesting and thought provoking pieces that enrich her readers. A proud member and Treasurer for the Greater Fort Worth Writer’s Group she is currently working on her first novel.  


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