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Cheryl waded through debris, wobbling at times as if drunk, her house topless after the tornado's rampage. A Starbuck's cup wafted past. The perfume of destruction rode the breeze with it. She found a picture of her and Matt before the divorce, shielded her eyes, stared at the interstate where he'd melded into the horizon.

He left before the IED killed their son, Jack, before her dad's heart gave out, before Alzheimer's claimed her mother, and now the devastating tempest.

Cheryl felt a hand on her shoulder, turned into her friend's arms, let her head loll on Amy's shoulder, and finally allowed years of anguish and despair to escape.

Story by:

Jim Harrington

5 March 2016