Cancer sucks. So do tornadoes.

Yesterday, I opened up my laptop to be greeted with the news that a family member of a family member lost her battle with melanoma. As a writer, words are usually my strong suit, but in this instance I’m kind of at a loss. There’s really nothing you can say that feels adequate. “Cancer sucks” only scratches the surface.

I knew this brave lady from kids’ birthday parties, but I’m sad and ashamed to say that I never got to know her well because I was always too shy to have a real conversation with her. The last time I saw her was in November at my great niece’s third birthday, where she was anxiously awaiting the results of a liver biopsy. She asked my mother to pray with her, and they stepped aside to pray while the cake was being served. Not long after, she and her husband excused themselves to leave, and on the way out the door she stopped and patted me on the shoulder. I was extremely touched that she felt enough familial warmth toward me to do that, despite my quiet tendencies, and I resolved to make more of an effort to talk to her at the next birthday party.

Except there won’t be any more birthday parties, at least not with her in attendance. She received her test results, and her diagnosis, later that week. Now, just five months later, she’s gone.

Our hearts and prayers go out to her husband and kids. As much as it pained me to watch from a distance as things took a bad turn, I can only imagine how hard all of this is, and has been, and will continue to be for them. If you’re the praying type, please remember the Rohde family as they go through this.

***

As if that wasn’t enough to ruin a day, yesterday evening we got hit with a tornadic thunderstorm. Once the tornado sirens started blasting, I shoved the cats (and the turtle) in a pet carrier and placed them in a central hallway, then held Pete, ready to dash for cover as I kept one eye on the TV weather coverage and another on the skies.

In true Okie fashion (which is funny considering how much of his formative years he spent in California), Matt kept going outside to see if he could see anything. Thankfully, the rain arrived and forced him back inside mere minutes before a gust of wind blew the tops of a couple of dead trees down into the yard right where he’d been standing.

Other than the tree parts scattered all over our back yard, we didn’t sustain any damage, thank goodness. Sand Springs, a suburb to the northwest of us, was hit the hardest, and the funnel cloud stayed about a mile north of us as it moved through Tulsa.

Last year, Oklahoma mostly got a break from the really scary storms, like after that awful spring of 2013 nature said, “Okay, Oklahoma, I’mma lay off you guys for a while.” But I guess we’re back on the hit list. I really hope last night wasn’t just a sneak preview of how the rest of this season’s going to go.

Local folks, how badly were you hit? Did you take cover when you heard the sirens, or head outside like my husband?

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