CHOCOWINITY, BEAUFORT COUNTY -

Lloyd and Shirley Edwards were not home when the tornado hit on Friday. But they'd heard about them, and when they returned, their property was in shambles.

"It's like a bomb had been through here," said Lloyd.

Monday, the family was left picking up a lifetime of hard work and memories.

"I broke down. I realized my life was no longer what it was when I left here," said Shirley.

The family says they were lucky. Nobody was home in either of their two homes on the property. Their daughter, son-in-law and grandson would have normally been there. Had they been home, they would have hidden in a room which was destroyed. Lloyd and Shirley say they may not have survived. 

"Our possessions are replaceable. Are lives weren't," said Shirley.

The day the family spent picking up the pieces had a different meaning for Lloyd; it was his 62nd birthday.

"The lord blessed me with all this, I served him before he gave me anything. And if he takes it all away like this it's not gonna change my attitude," said Lloyd. "You cry loud before the milk is spilled, but once the milk is spilled, you can't do nothing but clean the mess up."

The family's homes were not total losses. The shed which Lloyd worked out of is completely destroyed.