“Three months ago, I was laying in bed and I heard a voice tell me, ‘There will be big changes that your faith will take you through.’ And, my best friend, who passed away last month, told me that the Lord said to tell me that I was going to go through a big trial, but my faith would take me through it,” Mathis said.
The 69-year-old had heard that bad weather was expected the day the tornadoes hit Butts County, but she didn’t take the warning seriously.
“I knew they had been saying there was bad weather coming, but they often say there’s gonna be bad weather and then it changes,” said Mathis who was busy washing dishes and doing household chores that afternoon. “I didn’t even have my TV on, but I heard a small still voice tell me to turn the TV on.”
It was then that she discovered a tornado had hit in Locust Grove. Her daughter, Amanda Simpson, picked her up soon after and took her to safety before the tornado came through.
“The next day when I saw what the storm had done, I thought I would pass out,” said Mathis, who was the first to move into the neighborhood some 55 years ago. “I raised my kids and some of my grandkids here. It’s the memories that hurt the most.”
Mathis does not have homeowners insurance and is on a fixed income. Despite her loss, she is thankful to be alive, and she’s thankful for the love she has felt from strangers.
“All kinds of churches have been coming by and bringing things,” she said. “And, the Red Cross brought us meals. When you are in this position and people you have never seen before reach out to you, that means everything.”
Mathis has applied for help through FEMA and her daughters have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money to replace her home. Donations can also be sent to Mathis in care of 17.8 Cherokee Drive, Jackson.
She says in the future there will be very few trees in her landscape.
“The backyard is full of trees right now, but they were all once in my neighbor’s yard,” she said. “I had a hydrangea in a pot, and I would like to know where it ended up.”
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