Stories from the Storm: Lauren Ashworth

After her house was completey destroyed by the tornado, Lauren Ashworth realized just how lucky she really was to survive.


My name is Lauren Ashworth, I'm a media buyer at Martin Advertising in Birmingham, and we live in Cullman, Alabama. I was at home, my husband had gone to work that morning in Birmingham and I tried to make it to work, got all the way to Fultondale before I got the call to come home. Came home, took a shower and was in the living room, watching the weather coverage, right before the storm hit. When it hit I had actually just gone downstairs, within about 30 seconds before the storm went over the house. We had an old coal room, and it's the only room in the basement that didn't have windows, it was incredibly loud, like you just walked into a factory, and that happened for maybe 30 seconds, it was so fast. So after everything kinda settled down, and I could tell that things weren't moving about above me like they were when I knew the tornado was going through the house, I tried to walk up the stairs to what was the hallway. And nothing was there. I mean, I opened the door, I pushed it open. And there was debris in front of the door. And I could walk up and down the hallway, and I could see the neighborhood. But, I couldn't see, you know you couldn't get out into any of the rooms. All the exterior walls were gone, the roof was gone. All of the trees, we had old pecan trees, and just beautiful landscaping and all that. You really couldn't even tell where the yard was or where you know, where the lot was in proximity to everything else. I had never met my neighbor before, but she was an absolute godsend. I mean, she was, she was the only person who could either see me or was, you know, willing to help me get out. If not, I would have been there for I don't know how long, until my husband got there. You know, surprisingly, we went into recovery mode really fast, and we had a huge embrace and I was actually more worried for him. I was trying to just be emotionally strong and I knew that even though I'd gone through that, as soon as it was over. I knew I was okay. But he had an hour drive before he got there so I knew that he was probably just, he's trained to handle situations like that. And he is wonderful under pressure, but I can't imagine, the emotional state he was in. My best friend Ashley had decided, since this was going to be our forever home even though it wasn't our official first home. She was going to throw us a housewarming, and that was scheduled on April 30th. And coincidentally I don't even think people really knew what had happened cuz she even had to send a follow-up email. You know, by the way, this is the situation, we'll plan some recovery efforts instead of a housewarming. So she's been awesome. The next day by 5:00 a.m., we had a whole team from my parent's church that came to help with all the just picking up of anything they could salvage. By the time we actually got to the property there was nothing left to salvage. They even took the doors off the hinges. All the antique door knobs they could find. All the hardware, anything that was in cabinets, I mean even if it was destroyed they saved it for us. So, you know, that was a huge blessing because then we didn't to re-dig through everything which would had been emotional for us. So that was huge. You just really, you realize how materialistic you are until something like this happens. And then it just, everything is erased, and you just, you really see yourself in a different way. It's very raw, it's very eye opening. And it's just a really humbling experience, you realize how lucky you really are. Material things are not as important. We've become more faithful and it's given us an opportunity to just go where we're led. You know, we felt like we had a plan and we felt like we knew what was going to happen from the time we moved in until we had kids and moving forward, that was not the case, but that's okay. So, we're fine, our family is fine, we're so grateful and thankful for our friends and our support. And we're gonna be fine.
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