Tennessee woman shares her moment of clarity after surviving tornado

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PUTNAM COUNTY, Tenn. — Storm recovery and cleanup efforts in one of the hardest hit spots in Tennessee continue as at least two dozen people are still missing.

In the county, 18 people were killed, including five children under the age of 13.

Now, the stories within these terrifying tornadoes are coming to light.

There are some homes so damaged it’s almost unbelievable. Then there’s stories like Amanda Randolph’s.

Randolph walked WREG through mud, through the mess and through the dozens of volunteers, who were using chainsaws to clean up her home after a tornado chewed through the neighborhood.

“I don’t know how I got out,” she said. “I don’t know how I survived.”

A tree narrowly missed her as she sat in a now unrecognizable, smashed black Honda.

“The sky was grey and then a green color, and I could feel my whole car shaking, and it sounded like a freight train,” Randolph said. “It’s exactly the way they say it is. It happened so fast, no warning.”

Suffering a few broken ribs, she’s without a car and her belongings, but the brush with death put her life in perspective.

Randolph said she had been going through a rough time.

“I’ve gotten to this point in life where everything has gotten really hard lately,” she said. “I’m newly divorced. I’ve got three kids. I’m just trying to learn how this divorce thing works.”

She thought she had reached a breaking point.

“I just don’t know how much more I can take,” she said. “It’s hard. It’s really hard. That day in particular, I would’ve just been OK with not existing.”

But in the moment she thought her life could be over, there was clarity. 

“And sitting in my car that night, I just didn’t want to die so bad,” she said.

She knew her children and her life were worth believing in. 

“I’m so grateful for whatever was looking out for me because I wouldn’t be here without it,” Randolph said.

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