‘I’ve read about it, heard people speak, thought and listened, but till last night never experience a flash back in all it’s aspects, the sense, the feeling, the decisions. The research says the trigger can be anything a word, a bang, a smell, seeing something similar. The words for me were, ‘we’ve survived Ash Wednesday, we’ll be Ok.’ in a statement presented at the Royal Commission. I can understand that, how could you imagine a fire worse than A.W ?
It was late, not sure whether I’d slept or not, but I found myself awake and was in the smoke. This was it, I was somehow back in Ash Wednesday. I was wondering how I could drive down Terry’s Hill. I went inside and looked at my daughter sleeping so soundly. I called her name, she stirred. We might have to leave, ‘mumble mumble,’ from her. I went out the back and looked at the chunks of burning wood in the pine tree, sparks and embers settling ,dying, others out flying thro the air. What if the tree caught ? I felt so incredibly alone. I got the car keys, her clothes, shook her awake. The phone rang again, amazing, no mobiles back then, no power, no lights, no water, but phone was still working, ‘the winds changing don’t leave’ The night in shock, stuck in front of the TV screen as power returned early am, not comprehending. I remember the stunned feeling a day later, the quiet in the streets, softly asking, ‘ are you ok?’ to unknown people buying simple supplies in the super market. I was numb today 27 yrs later rumminating over the decisions then. realising why i was panic struck from early dawn on the 7th 09.
Talk about it, bring yourself down, be selective who I as most people got into shock on my behalf. I am blessed a counsellor for Black Saturday rang. i was able to ask her to listen ‘I am in the middle of the past’. We compared road trauma (her past area) with bushfire trauma and how the present can trigger past, how my trauma is exaccerbated by what I know, how serious the threats are in the Dandenongs and why my concerns so high. we talked through it, she offered to come over. What a gorgeous friend – I healed after that offer.