Megan Futrell never missed a game.
Even when she was so pregnant she had to waddle, she brought pillows and sat in those uncomfortable wooden chairs at State Fair Park to watch her 8-year-old son Kanon wrestle. It was the state wrestling tournament — no way she'd miss it.
“She wanted to be there,” said her husband, Cody Futrell. “She wanted to always be there for any achievement that Kanon ever did — she didn't want to miss a ball being hit, she didn't want to miss a game-saving catch or a throw, or wrestling. She didn't miss a practice or a match. She didn't miss a tournament, and that's every weekend three months out of the year.”
This dedicated mother will never make it to another ballgame or wrestling match. On May 20, she and her infant son Case died when an EF5 tornado struck the 7-Eleven where they sought shelter.
On Monday, she would have been 30. Megan Futrell was a mama bear who loved her boys — husband Cody and their sons, Kanon, 8, and Case, who was almost 4 months old when he died.
She was a special education teacher at Highland West Junior High in Moore. She loved working with children with special needs. Not many people are born with the patience, compassion and determination that she had, her husband said.
‘Curls' and ‘Monkey'
Her family remembered her as the happiest she had ever been after Case was born. And he was a happy baby. His nickname was Monkey for his long “monkey toes.”
Cody Futrell remembers sitting in his recliner in the family's living room, with Kanon sitting on his right side and baby Case on his left. Case was born weighing about 9 pounds and could already hold his head up and look around.
Case loved to laugh, and he would always smile when he saw his big brother. He had recently rolled over for the first time, and Megan was so proud.
“He was just a big little baby,” Cody said. “He was going to be my little football player.”
The afternoon of the storms, Megan Futrell went to pick up Case from day care. She wanted to make sure her children made it home safely.
Cody left work to pick up Kanon from school, and they were going to meet at home.
But baseball-size hail was hitting her car, and she told Cody she was going to pull into the parking lot of a 7-Eleven at SW 4 Street and Telephone Road, about three miles from their house.
“I never did tell her to leave,” Cody said. “I never did tell her to go north. I guess I could have done that. I don't know. That 7-Eleven was the farthest north that storm went.”
Cody and Kanon made it home safe, and he texted Megan to see where she was. She didn't respond, which wasn't weird, considering no cellphones were working.
He wanted to drive to her, but the road to 7-Eleven from their house was a parking lot. People searching for loved ones had just parked their cars in the street and left.
But he needed to get to “Curls,” the nickname he gave Megan for her curly blond hair. So Cody and his neighbor walked, ran and jogged almost three miles through mud and debris and chaos to that 7-Eleven.
He continued to tell himself everything was going to be OK — until he got over a hill near Little River Park, only about one-tenth of a mile from the 7-Eleven.
“And everything was just gone,” he said. “The trees looked like toothpicks. There was nothing on them. Just poles sitting up in the air. ... And of course, the 7-Eleven sign is gone, and everything is just flat.”
‘He looks just like me'
Cody found an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper who asked him to sit in the trooper's truck while he got the medical examiner.
The medical examiner started asking him questions. “Does she have any tattoos?”
This is the point where he knew something was wrong. Megan had a shooting star tattoo that went across her stomach. The next question: “Does she have any bracelets?
Cody had just bought her a Pandora bracelet with charms as a “push gift” — a gift fathers give new mothers as a “thank you” for pushing through the delivery. She always had bracelets on.
He asked Cody about the baby. “He looks just like me, except for he's a baby,” Cody told him.
The medical examiner walked away with the trooper for a moment. Cody watched as he stood at the back of the truck, took off his cowboy hat and started shaking his head.
“There are 800 different variables that could have happened,” Cody said. “I've played it over in my head a billion times, and then you finally come to the realization there's nothing you could have done.”
When the first responders found Megan Futrell, she was still holding Case. And when it was time to bury Megan and Case, the family bought only one casket and buried them together.
That's what Megan would have wanted. She always wanted to be with her boys.