US

Ill. tornado survivor on anguished quest for cards late brother asked her to give to his kids

  • In this November 2013 family photo provided by Annmarie Klein, the Klein family poses in front of the fireplace mantle at their Washington, Ill., home after it was destroyed by a Nov. 17 tornado. From left are Logan Klein, 13; Brady Klein, 11; Morgan Klein, 11; Annmarie Klein, 41; Griffin Klein, 2; Eric Klein, 44; and Owen Klein, 5. Annmarie Klein is asking for the public’s help in locating three cards swept away by the twister, each of which Klein’s brother, Paul McLaughlin, personalized with a note before his 2005 death from colon cancer. McLaughlin had entrusted Klein to give the cards to his children someday. (AP Photo/Kara Kamienski via Annmarie Klein)

    In this November 2013 family photo provided by Annmarie Klein, the Klein family poses in front of the fireplace mantle at their Washington, Ill., home after it was destroyed by a Nov. 17 tornado. From left are Logan Klein, 13; Brady Klein, 11; Morgan Klein, 11; Annmarie Klein, 41; Griffin Klein, 2; Eric Klein, 44; and Owen Klein, 5. Annmarie Klein is asking for the public’s help in locating three cards swept away by the twister, each of which Klein’s brother, Paul McLaughlin, personalized with a note before his 2005 death from colon cancer. McLaughlin had entrusted Klein to give the cards to his children someday. (AP Photo/Kara Kamienski via Annmarie Klein)  (The Associated Press)

  • In a November 2013 family photo provided by Annmarie Klein, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary stands amid the ruins of the former home of Klein and her family in Washington, Ill., after the Nov. 17, 2013 that destroyed their home. Klein is asking for the public’s help in locating three cards swept away by the twister. The cards were addressed to the three children of Klein’s brother, Paul McLaughlin, who before his 2005 death from colon cancer entrusted Klein to give the cards to his children someday. (AP Photo/Kara Kamienski via Annmarie Klein)

    In a November 2013 family photo provided by Annmarie Klein, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary stands amid the ruins of the former home of Klein and her family in Washington, Ill., after the Nov. 17, 2013 that destroyed their home. Klein is asking for the public’s help in locating three cards swept away by the twister. The cards were addressed to the three children of Klein’s brother, Paul McLaughlin, who before his 2005 death from colon cancer entrusted Klein to give the cards to his children someday. (AP Photo/Kara Kamienski via Annmarie Klein)  (The Associated Press)

  • In an November 2013 family photo provided by Annmarie Klein, Brady Klein, 11, walks through the rubble of his family’s home in Washington, Ill., after it was leveled Nov. 17 by a tornado. Brady’s mother, Annmarie Klein, is asking for the public’s help in locating three cards swept away by the twister, each of which Klein’s brother, Paul McLaughlin, personalized with a note before his 2005 death from colon cancer. McLaughlin had entrusted Klein to give the cards to his children someday. (AP Photo/Kara Kamienski via Annmarie Klein)

    In an November 2013 family photo provided by Annmarie Klein, Brady Klein, 11, walks through the rubble of his family’s home in Washington, Ill., after it was leveled Nov. 17 by a tornado. Brady’s mother, Annmarie Klein, is asking for the public’s help in locating three cards swept away by the twister, each of which Klein’s brother, Paul McLaughlin, personalized with a note before his 2005 death from colon cancer. McLaughlin had entrusted Klein to give the cards to his children someday. (AP Photo/Kara Kamienski via Annmarie Klein)  (The Associated Press)

Annmarie Klein know she's blessed to have survived the tornado that leveled her family's central Illinois home, and she understands most of the things they lost can be replaced.

That's not true for a mint green box that contained three cards.

The cards swept away by the Nov. 17 tornado in Washington, Ill., were personalized by Klein's brother with notes for each of his three children before his 2005 death from colon cancer.

He entrusted Klein to give them to his kids someday, and the fact that they're missing has her tearfully anguishing that she failed him.

Some of her other keepsakes have turned up 150 miles away, near Warrenville outside of Chicago. They include a picture of her late brother during the baptism of one of her five children.