Fortunately for us, the Tubb’s Fire never caused us to evacuate. We definitely had some powerful angels watching over us. The fires started on Sunday nite/Monday early morning, the National Guard had shown up and a curfew was in place, we still had no gas, the air quality was atrocious, and the fires were still jumping around. Some folks were evacuated and cleared to return several times, we still was no idea when our wonderful fire fighters would be able to get a handle on this storm!
Due to this tragic turn of events, Steven was unable to get to work. He didn’t know if the job site would still be there, Sonoma was burning too. So many people were unaccounted for, in transition, and struggling to find some footing. My boss sent a text out to our team, asking us to text back “OK” if we were safe. Luckily, all were accounted for and safe. There were so many of my co-workers who couldn’t get to work, understandably! I was supposed to be on leave, but with Steven home I took a drive in to see if they needed help.
It was the first time I had left the house in days. My home town looked like a war zone. No gas left at the stations, all intersections were without power, with visibility making it so very dangerous to attempt to enter. The ash was so thick you had to use your windshield wipers to see. Raley’s had no power, they were open, using flashlights to help folks get water and non perishables. All of the perishables were being loaded into trash bins. It was so quiet, it was almost tangible. Folks were in shock.
We were opening for the first time in days, there was a skeleton crew. But, with the need for essentials it seemed prudent and right to open the doors. The most urgent needs were underwear, socks, and shoes. So many had to flee in just their night clothes. As people came through, I just hugged strangers, asked after their families “was everyone safe?”. Cried, yes cried with many! This wonderful city was pulling together and leaning on each other to get through this. You might not have personally lost anything, BUT we ALL had loved ones who had lost everything. The news that my Aunt and Uncle’s home was gone brought the loss even closer. The events had touched all of us, one way or another!
It was only Wednesday, October 11th. So much chaos, so much uncertainty, so much Hope. Upon returning home after work, the Hospice nurse was visiting. My mother-in-law was slipping fast, we were now in comfort mode. The trauma of just getting her home was taking it’s toll. I was so grateful this fire had allowed Steven to be with his mom when she needed him most! Mixed Blessings, my Grandma used to say. The end was nearing, we both knew it.
The next few days we stumbled through with evacuation threats everywhere. KSRO radio was really the only link to what was really happening. We were on pins and needles waiting for the Sheriff’s “nixle alert” to go off on our phones. New information, delivered by a new technology! Concise, correct, and reassuring.
On Saturday morning, Steven went to check on his mom. She had passed away during the night, peacefully in her sleep. While waiting for the mortuary to arrive, Steven walked outside. He found a burned section of a book page, right under his mom’s window.
Call it what you want, but for us it was a comfort. It was a sort of message, we both felt that the fire had given Steven the time to let go. He had given his all, loved her on her terms, and had no regrets of any kind. We walked with her out to the mortuary hearse. The man I loved, fell apart. You are just never ready to say goodbye, even when you have said it all already! We just held each other in the driveway and cried.
The fire had given Steven 5 full days! What a gift ……Cyn