Kathy Thompson, 60, cries as she holds the wall to what was once her living room while walking down to the first floor at her home June 10 on S. New Jersey Avenue in Joplin, Mo. She and her husband survived the tornado in the closet of their bedroom at their home. The tornado, which swept across a six-mile path in Joplin, killed 153 people, and the death toll is still rising. Thompson’s grandchildren left messages written on the walls throughout the house to let her know they cared. “My granddaughter gets it, she truly gets it,” she said after tearing up from reading one of the notes on the wall. The note read, “Even though a tornado came, memories will always be the same. This house was built with love and with it love it was built. I’m glad it’s still standing because without love and memories, it would tilt.”

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