Stephanie Decker threw herself over her children to protect them from the Indiana tornado that struck their home. I heard that story on the radio this morning during my commute to work, and I cried. I wept out of gratitude that these children and their mother were spared, but also because I was so deeply touched by this mother’s instincts.
On Friday, Stephanie’s husband, Joe, a teacher, texted her from school that the tornado was headed toward their three-story home in Marysville, Indiana. She hustled their kids, Dominic, 8, and Reese, 5, down to the basement. Somehow Stephanie, 36, had the presence of mind to tie up her two kids in a comforter, which she tied to herself. Then she threw her body over them as all hell broke loose. Her legs ended up pinned beneath two steel beams; she lost both of them. She is now recovering at a hospital in Jeffersonville.
“I knew my leg was barely attached or it was severed. I didn’t know which but I knew it was bad,” she told ABC News.
Meanwhile, this was the update she put on her Facebook page (no mention of her legs): “I’m Alive!! And praise God my children didn’t get a scratch on them!! Many have asked if u can come see me … Yes!!!”
Here’s a video recap of the mom’s “ultimate sacrifice” with Stephanie Decker talking from her hospital bed about what happened during those terrifying moments.
I’d like to think that I would have had the presence of mind to act as this mom did. If anything, though, I know my maternal instincts would have kicked in. That maternal instinct is no cliché—it’s very, very real. It saved these children’s lives. I’m not saying the father wouldn’t have done the same, of course, but there really is something to that mama bear thing. Don’t you agree?
Image: Decker family