"It doesn't get better, you just accept it." - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

After The Storm: One Year Later

"It doesn't get better, you just accept it."

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Andrew Ellis kisses him mom while standing where their family's home once stood. Andrew Ellis kisses him mom while standing where their family's home once stood.
Adam Ellis teaches his younger brother to shave. Adam died on April 27, 2011. Adam Ellis teaches his younger brother to shave. Adam died on April 27, 2011.
Andrew during his recovery. Andrew during his recovery.
The bathtub Andrew and his four family members held on to when the storm hit. The bathtub Andrew and his four family members held on to when the storm hit.
APISON, HAMILTON COUNTY -

(WRCB) - "Everything has been pushed away by bulldozers, but it's still so fresh in our minds," said Wendy Ellis, returning to the place her great-grandmother's home used to stand off Clonts Road.

A lone cinder block rests where a bathroom once stood.

It's where Andrew Ellis, then 8-years-old, and four family members sought refuge from last April's storm.

"I just remember getting in the bathtub," Andrew said softly.

An EF-4 tornado ripped through the mobile home, separating Andrew from his great-grandmother, grandmother, cousin, and brother.

Andrew was the sole survivor, found some 500 feet away.

"He did not even look like himself," said Wendy, remembering seeing her son for the first time. "He was completely back, with gashes all over his body, and he had so many places on his body that had holes."

Wendy says the hardest part was telling Andrew about his brother, Adam.

"He kept calling him 'the other one', he wouldn't utter his brother's name," she said. "He just couldn't, he couldn't bare it."

Andrew doesn't like to talk about the emotional scars. Counseling helps.

Physical scars are still healing.

He limps when he walks. Pins hold his elbow together, and will for the rest of his life.

"Sometimes it will hurt, but not that much," Andrew told Channel 3, showing where doctors operated on his arm and leg.

"He's a miracle," Wendy said, looking at her son with tears in his eyes.

A miracle that keeps Wendy going.

"It doesn't get better, you just accept it," she said.

"Just keep praying for our strength," she answered, when asked what can be done to help her family, "that's what gets us through every day, one day at a time."

 

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