I have been struggling to write this post. Saturday I received this horrific text message. I had just got up to start the coffee. I came back to my room to enjoy a lazy Saturday morning. It was already a bright, sunny day. I suddenly heard the loud noise of an emergency alert from my phone. I commented to my husband that was odd since it was such a beautiful day and we shouldn't be getting a flash flood warning. I opened my old flip phone and couldn't believe what I was reading! I read it out loud. What to do?! At this time all our other phones began going off as did our house phone. My husband turned on the TV, the same message was being broadcast across the screen in bold red type. We only had a few minutes.
I had the idea to try to hide the children under our bed...hoping the heavy duty steel frame and mattress would somehow protect them. The girls grabbed their pillows and water bottles and slid under the bed. My son got in the bathtub and I put a mattress on top of him. I ran and grabbed some granola bars and threw a few to everybody. Then under the hide-a-bed I went with my water, cell phone and Ipad. My husband left the TV on loud so we could all hear it from our hiding spots. I tried to call my parents. 5 times. The calls would not go through, as I'm sure everyone was trying to reach their loved ones. I called my sister, she answered. In a panic I very quickly stated where everyone was hiding and that a ballistic missile was headed toward Hawaii. For a moment I could tell she was in disbelief...in shock from what I was telling her. I was so scared. She told me how much she loves me and how much joy I brought to her life. I started to cry. I told her it shouldn't be long before the missile hits Hawaii. She talked to me while we waited. After what seemed like forever, the announcer on TV said it was a false alarm! What?! We struggled out of our shelter spots. What happened?!
As well all sat glued to the TV it became apparent that it indeed was a false alarm. We were not going to die by a nuke attack today. And then our phones started the familiar wail and we received this message..."there is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False alarm". 38 Minutes later. Joy and relief soon gave way to anger and frustration. How could such a mistake happen? What took so long for them to send out the "oops" message?
Even several days later, I still wasn't feeling quite right and my sleep was disturbed. I went out to buy the newspaper hoping to find some answers. As I was making my purchase I started chatting with the cashier at the store. We've become friendly over the past few months. We talked about the missile scare and how we both were dealing with it. I looked over and saw a lovely, yellow lei on the counter. I commented on it's beauty and she encouraged me to smell it. Oh my goodness this lei smelled heavenly! My friend said that someone made it for her birthday. She proceeded to walk around the counter, put the lei over my head and hugged me! I wanted to cry! She gave a second lei to my husband along with a hug. How thoughtful that she gave us her birthday lei! I can't tell you all how much better her act of kindness made me feel. Almost like a weight had been lifted...that it was OK to move on.
In the evening my husband draped the lei over our headboard. The scent of the flowers filled our room. I feel asleep last night with a feeling of peace.