As I sat on Good Friday and watched the weather reports which pre-empted all regular programming on local network channels, and worried about the tornado watches and warnings, I relived the fear of not so long ago huddling in a closet, listening to what sounded like a freight train roaring by. Luckily, our family and home remained unscathed while homes less than 1/4 mile away were destroyed. The picture I've shown here was borrowed from a TN new's site and was taken on Friday after a series of twisters touched down in Murphreesboro.
My joy, while watching radar and seeing the bad weather skirt by our town was soured by the report of lives lost elsewhere. I was particularly saddened to learn that the two casualties were a new mother and her nine-week-old daughter. It somehow struck me as terribly unfair that a woman who waited for nine months to bring a precious little girl into the world should have such a short time to enjoy being a parent. People always say things happen for a reason, but it's things like this that make me wonder what possible reason would suffice. I guess we'll never know.
Today, I wanted to pay special tribute to Baby Olivia, pictured here. Her time on earth was short, and perhaps heaven was missing an angel. There is little one can say to add comfort to the heart of a husband missing his family, but I pray that he'll find peace of mind and the will to carry on. Somehow saying his wife and child are in a better place just doesn't seem comforting in this case.
Here is the report from WKRN News in Nashville about what happened. After you read this, hold someone you love close and tell them how much they mean to you.
MURFRESBORO, Tenn. - A mother and her nine-week-old daughter were killed Friday afternoon when a tornado destroyed their home.
Murfreesboro police said the woman, indentified as Kori Bryant and the baby were inside the home on Sulpher Springs Road.
The Bryant family home was completely ripped off its foundation and scattered all over the street.
Friends said Kori and husband John Bryant were madly in love and thrilled with their newfound jobs as parents.
"She was more than excited about being a mom," said co-worker Terry Womack. "I think it was a life-long dream for her."
Womack has worked with Kori for the last seven years at the Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department.
She said Kori was always smiling, "very bubbly, energetic, would light up a room."
Lanny Goodwin is the director of the department and also knew Kori very well.
"She was really happy about coming back to work. She'd been out on maternity leave and had come into the office Thursday to pick up her schedule. She was going to start back on Monday," she said.
Womack said Kori and Olivia were at home Friday afternoon.
She said when the weather turned severe, Kori called John, who was working at a job site as a contractor.
Womack said John decided to come home but he never made it inside the house. The tornado hit as he was getting out of his car.
"It blew the baby, it blew Kori and it blew John," Womack said.
Neighbors said they found Kori in the middle of the road, covered in debris.
Baby Olivia was strapped to a car seat, which had blown all the way into a tree.
Womack has known John Bryant since he was four years old.
"I think he knows his family is gone, but hasn't quite grasped it, because he's in so much pain," she said.
Womack said she has been to visit John in the hospital. He has a punctured lung and a broken back.
Friends and family have set up a memorial fund at Bank of America for the Bryant's.
Chuck Mullins worked with John and said their family needs the help now more than ever..
"His business is totally gone. They have several funerals to plan and taking care of John, he's in pretty bad shape," he said.
To donate to the Bryant Memorial Fund, visit any Bank of America location.