JOPLIN, Mo. - "How did I stand up from that?" a shocked Shandie Reed asked one year ago . "How did we survive that? That's the entire first floor of our house!"
Reed stood staring down at a mountain of debris over the hole that was her basement.
Her once-grand century-old home where she and her parents lived had been reduced to stone stairs that led nowhere.
In the months that followed, Reed still used to come sit on those stairs. "It was my place of peace, knowing that my life almost ended there. My family's lives almost ended there."
Now nothing is left but a large patch of grass. The basement has been filled in and the stairs are gone, wiping away any hint of the home that once stood there.
"It's bittersweet," Reed said. "I try to avoid driving by here."
Instead, she has spent the last year trying to move forward. She wrote down her family's story and sent out a few hundred, hoping for the kindness of strangers.
The place they currently live isn't handicap accessible and her father, suffering from diabetes, has lost part of both of his feet. Kind strangers heard their plea. A lot and an entire home have been donated, a few blocks from where Reed used to live.
"I was born here, I was raised here," she said. "It would feel wrong to live anywhere else."
Walking on the ground of her new home, Shandie smiles. "This is awesome to say this is where my new home is going to be."
When asked how long she had waited to say that, she simply said, "Since May 22nd of last year."
Shandie has no plans for the anniversary of the tornado. "I'm looking forward to May 23rd. I just want spring to go by," she said.
She and her family will get to move in to their new home in a few months. The plans and the size are a secret, but she does know it will include a safe room for severe weather.
"Storms throw me for a loop," she said.
But now she is ecstatic for her family's bright future.
"Some days are better than others, but there's always hope...Hope never dies," she said.