Carol used to live in Castro Valley, California, where she worked as a hairdresser for 43 years. Tired of the busy lifestyle and high cost of living in the Bay Area, she began to plan for her retirement.
After much planning and preparation, Carol was finally able to get away from it all and moved into a cozy little house in Paradise. Carol was ready to start her new life with her daughter and three grandchildren living nearby in Chico.
Carol felt happy and content, as if she was in heaven. She had nothing more to ask for.
Then suddenly the Camp Fire sparked an inferno that destroyed Carol’s home, including many sentimental objects filled with memories of her parents’ past, her children’s and grandchildren’s childhood, as well as, other items that she had treasured in her new home. Everything was burnt to ashes.
When Carol visited the Tzu Chi Distribution Center in Chico, she began sharing her story. Eventually she reached a point where her demeanor took a sudden turn. She broke down and cried, “Everyone always says I’m so strong, but I don’t want to be strong anymore. I’m so tired! So tired!” Tears quickly filled her eyes and she was overcome by emotion.
The Tzu Chi volunteer assisting her walked over and embraced her. Carol was so used to being strong, but now she sobbed silently. It tugged at my heartstrings and I held her a little tighter, wishing that I could help comfort and ease her sadness by providing her a shoulder to cry on. I held back my tears and softly said to her, “You are not alone. We are all here to help you. Things will only get better from now on.”