When the tornado hit Joplin, Lacy Tasker just had enough time to grab her 9-year-old son and jump into a bathtub at the house they shared with Tasker’s grandmother. It was only after the tornado passed that Tasker found the 89-year-old woman, whom she had been taking care of for six years, sitting in her chair with her legs crossed. Though she looked like she was at peace, Tasker says her sister and mother had to comfort her, telling her she couldn’t have done more.
As she stood in the wreckage of that home yesterday, Tasker still sounded stunned, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Still wearing the clothes she had on when the tornado hit, she mused, "This is happening. It's really happening. This is all gone." Down the street, a local theater had been destroyed, as had her mother’s, aunt’s, and sister’s homes. She and her son picked through the wreckage to salvage what clothes and mementos they could, all the while waiting for the firefighters to come and take away the long white bag still lying in the front yard. Click for more from Joplin, where the AP reports the death toll has now reached 117. (Read more Joplin tornado stories.)