By Barbara Wood
Special to The Almanac
I miss my husband, I miss my little dog, I missed celebrating with my youngest child after she learned she had passed the California Bar exam last Friday.
I miss morning walks with my friends, and I miss my soft bed with its down comforter and quilt, and I miss being able to walk outside and smell the perfume of one of the roses in my garden if I find the state of the world too much for a moment.
On Thursday I'll miss Thanksgiving with dozens of friends and family.
But when I think about why I'm missing those things, I really don't mind at all.
I'm missing them because I volunteered to be one of the hundreds of Red Cross volunteers who answered the call to help comfort, shelter and care for those who are missing everything they abandoned 10 days ago when they ran from their homes in front of heat and flames, some barefoot and only partially dressed.
Paradise, an entire community of more than 26,000 people, is gone. Not just damaged and repairable, but gone. CalFire says nearly 10,000 residences have been destroyed in the Camp Fire, plus 367 businesses and workplaces, as of Sunday, Nov. 18.
There are still 1,200 people on the missing list, and while the Red Cross has reunited several hundred through our Safe and Well program, many will never be found.
And the fire is only 60 percent contained.
Many of those in our shelters don't know if their friends or families made it out.
I'll gladly miss everything I know will be waiting for me when I return home in another week or so in trade for being able to reassure someone's fears, listen to their story, or direct them to a resource.
I've been witness to countless acts of generosity to a damaged community working together to survive an almost unimaginable tragedy. I'm proud to be part of an organization that allows me to participate in this community's recovery, to do what I can to ease its pain.
I don't know where I'll celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, but I do know I'll be grateful to be there.