Sunday, 5 January 2020

Feelings

During my nursing career I undertook further studies with one course specialising in the area of palliative care. I grew personally from my studies and especially found the stages of grief developed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross helpful. I will never forget just eight words from this study that have stuck with me ever since......."feelings aren't right or wrong - they just are". Challenges in life create all sorts of feelings and those stages of grief can surface even without death. So as I write this our feelings are in turmoil......we are both sad, confused, guilty and helpless as we hear the continuing news of the devastating bushfires. Australians have always helped others in all parts of the world but this time it is in reverse. Firefighters and experts have been coming from our neighbours in New Zealand and also from Canada and the US.......
 Fire experts say the fires here are so different to anywhere else. To start with some areas have been in severe drought for several years and even the Snowy Mountains are currently burning. Areas along the coast where the bush meets the sea have resulted in 1,000's being trapped so the navy has been called in to help evacuate with an additional 3,000 defence force reservists deployed to assist with not only evacuations but also to distribute food, water and fuel. Many people are also stranded as so many roads have been closed and I just read yesterday that the entire area that has burned is twice the size of Belgium. It is possibly not helpful to make comparisons but we are certainly being bombarded with images like this on social media. I guess it puts it into some sort of perspective but I am mindful we are a much larger country than the UK.........

The other extraordinary occurrence is that these fires create their own weather system creating lightening that results in further fires.......
So how can one not be overwhelmed with this enormous flood of mixed feelings? Closer to home our beautiful Kangaroo Island has had devastating fires in the past few days resulting in the loss of half the island. Kangaroo Island is one of our leading tourist attractions and this is the peak holiday time for business as well. One cannot begin to imagine the loss of livelihood for so many not forgetting the wildlife including our beloved koalas. Just yesterday we heard of the growing human toll with the loss of Dick Lang and his son on the island. Dick was a local and I remember him well while growing up especially when he visited our school. My late Dad spoke so highly of him and got to know him well having participated in several of Dick's Desert Trek flights and safaris in central Australia. Dick's son Clayton was a well respected plastic and reconstructive surgeon here in Adelaide and the supervisor of surgical training at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Such tragic loss for their families and colleagues.......
Kangaroo Island also lost the luxury holiday accomodation Southern Ocean Lodge.......

It now looks like this......
Our hearts are breaking for so many especially as we recall driving to so many affected areas in New South Wales and Victoria meeting quilters and their families when I was teaching. Almost five years ago I was teaching in one of the affected areas on the NSW south coast and I posted about it all HERE. It was all so green and lush as you can see in these images that I took then.........
You can also see how the bushland reaches the sea when I was staying at nearby Tura Beach (do hope you are safe Jenny)......

I also stayed in Bermagui and this town was evacuated only a few days ago.....
On that visit I flew on my own and the plane landed in Merimbula and I now wonder if these homes are still there.......
In 2012 we also drove through affected parts including the picturesque Southern Highlands. This stunning area is full of multi million dollar homes and many properties have been lost. So much of this must now be blackened so I will remember these views I took up high looking over Mittagong, Bowral and the Fitzroy Falls........ 


We cannot deny the feelings we are currently going through and we know there is a lot of hardship ahead for so many. I am sure we will feel it in ways we have not even thought of yet including possible flow on affects like home insurance costs, food and fuel prices and of course the grief and loss that will be felt far and wide. I know many of you reading this find comfort in stitching so that is what I have been doing these last few days. While it is good for the hand it still creates restriction and discomfort for me but it is all progress! I decided some months ago to recreate some of the architecture I've photographed over the years in the way of small stitcheries. Then I wondered what I could do with them so in the spirit of recycling started collecting cans and doing some drawings from places close to home in and around Adelaide.........



 Then I thought why not make one for my hand therapist as a thankyou gift........
 So now I have more ideas from photos of places in the UK that we see on the William Morris Tours, so it is not only good hand therapy but also good to get those feelings under control........
Some weeks back I planted some carnations in the back garden. They've struggled a bit but just this week I received one very small reward........
 And overnight we received some much needed rain - in fact we had 6mm. We can only hope that Kangaroo Island received some of it to help the firefighters and that NSW and Victoria get some very soon too.......
I will leave you with these images remembering that we need to make sure the feelings we have of sadness don't affect the little people in our lives. On New Year's Day we had the family visit and when we went into the bedroom we found Maisie had gone outside to get some pegs for the pram. She has clearly been watching others and how perfectly snug and safe the baby doll looks! I hope she is a Mum herself one day......such precious images. An enormous heartfelt hug from us to those of you that are affected by the fires xx

9 comments:

  1. beautiful post Michele, sums it all up very well xxxx

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  2. You have a gift with words Michele! xx

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  3. you speak of the disaster so well. I have been watching this closely on the news and it is just horrific. I can't begin to know what it is like for life in these areas now breathing in all that smoke I wonder how all the bloggers down under are doing that I read. Most are still blogging some I haven't read in awhile. I just read yesterday that the Steve Irwin family (Crocodile Man) have helped 90,000 animals at their wildlife hospital I thought surely that number can not be right but I have read a few other articles that say it is. I saw the photos of people being rescued off the beaches after having all escape routes closed off - it is just horrible and summer is just starting I believe

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  4. Absolutely heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing your profound thoughts, Michele
    Here in the US we are praying fervently. These events are indeed traumatising and so damaging.
    Your drawings and embroidery are stunningly beautiful.
    We will continue to pray for all of this to end. It is so painful to know that so many lives are lost, and earth is scorched, so many hearts broken

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  5. The fire situation is very overwhelming and hard to comprehend it is so large and been going so long. I have a few dianthus (related to carnations) that have held up really well in the hot dry conditions and a grey foliage carnation that has thrived - so I hope yours does too!

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  6. I've been so sorry to see all the devastation that is going on. I'm not much good at words but am thinking of you. <3

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  7. We have been getting much news in Canada about the horrific fires you are having. The thought of all that devastation is almost beyond comprehension. Hoping for cooler temperatures and rain for you.

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  8. I have been watching this closely and it is so overwhelming. It brought back the feeling when almost the entire town of Paradise burned in the Camp fire in 2018. Eighty-five people lost their lives in that fire. I keep praying for rain and glad to hear some has come. It is all absolutely heartbreaking. Lord, have mercy on your people of Australia.

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