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Families Picking Up The Pieces From December's Tornadoes

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GARLAND (KRLD-AM) - The tornado that ripped through North Texas the day after Christmas has certainly put people's strength to the test.

The tornadoes rendered many people, young and old, homeless.

"Windows busted, a big chunk of the roof off, a lot of water in the home," says Tamanese Nero, who's living in a hotel room with her kids for the time being.

For the Neros, the aftermath of the tornado has been an emotional struggle. "They cry a lot sometimes, but we're here for each other."

The timing of the tornadoes was especially tough, with it being the day after Christmas. Kids who were playing with their Christmas presents just one day earlier had them taken away in an instant. Recently, the group Lone Star Santas held a Convoy of Toys to help replace the toys that the kids lost in the tornadoes.

Coping with the emotional toll, however, is a much longer process. April Lay says her kids have good days and bad days.

"We're trying to focus on the fact that they're survivors and everything else can be replaced," says Lay.

As the kids cope, the adults continue trying to put their lives back together.

Ashley Leverett's home was among those flattened. "When we got there, it was just me and my son in the car, and we couldn't get to our street." says Leverett. "The houses were gone, and I'm calling my husband panicking, telling him our house is gone. I don't know where our house is."

Leverett has two kids and one on the way. With their home destroyed, they are now living with her mother, Mary Capehart.

"I have a small house -- 1,050 square feet," says Capehart. So our whole family has moved into my house. So it's been a strain."

Leverett says her son has had a difficult time coming to grips with the tornado.

"My son thinks that a monster came and stomped on the house," says Leverett. "So we're trying to make him understand that daddy scared away the monster, the monster's not coming back, daddy's going to fix the house, it's okay."

Capehart says despite the extremely tight living arrangement, there is some good to come out of all of this.

"It is very devastating, but it has brought us closer together," says Capehart.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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