Many of you have asked about my parents. I mentioned in my last newsletter that they were living in a Red Cross shelter waiting to see if their home would survive the California fires. Unfortunately, it did not. When they were finally allowed to drive up and check almost two weeks later, they found nothing left to salvage.
Not only did they lose their home, their place of security, comfort, and safety, but also all their belongings. With no time to pack during the immediate evacuation, they left with barely more than the clothes on their backs. Gone are their photos, their treasured objects, and my mother’s quilts she handmade over decades. To lose your home and all your possessions in your 80’s is a hard thing.
The silver lining during this emergency was the American Red Cross and the Sonoma community. I spoke to my parents almost every day during their evacuation. They were set up in the local high school, sleeping on cots lined up in tight formations. Around them were other evacuees, children, and pets. The shelter had an almost festive mood as the community and Red Cross provided games, meals, nurses, and hairdressers to fill the time and provide support. My parents, who were rather isolated in their home, were able to connect with others, share stories, and pet dogs. Every time I spoke to them, they raved about how nice everyone was and how the community united to support their neighbors (with clothing and toiletry donations), while a local gym opened its doors so people could take showers. Even when they were invited to stay at a friend’s home, they chose to stay at the shelter.
They are now at a crossroads. Do they rebuild which could take years? Or move to live near me or my brother? Perhaps they look for a senior community to replicate the social aspect they enjoyed during the evacuation? I hope they reflect on how they enjoyed being part of a community these past two weeks when determining their next step. I’ll let you know.
The Red Cross made a very difficult situation so much better for my parents. Won’t you please donate to the American Red Cross?