As a departure from my normal theme I thought I’d share the story of D1 and D2, salt-of-the-earth Aussie battlers who were hit by the ‘severe weather events’ that characterised summer in Australia this year.
D1 moved to Queensland to start afresh about 20 years ago. D&D married later in life, a tough life, but they are absolutely committed and devoted to one another. D1 is my husband’s brother, my brother-in-law. He’s greatly loved by our two sons. His sign-off from our too-infrequent phone calls is always “love youse all!”
As we watched the rains and then floods in Queensland, Google maps showed that Fernvale looked like it was close to a big body of water – that body of water was the Wivenhoe Dam. So as it reached an unbelievable 190% it was likely that this body of water would impact quiet residential areas, and it did and D&D lost pretty much everything.
Back in December the invitation to D1’s 65th arrived. In the past 12 months he had overcome bowel cancer and been through chemo and was coming out the other side. The invitation said, “Please come and help Dave celebrate LIFE!”
Our first response was to say a resounding “yes”. When our sons were married D1 always made the effort to come down to Sydney
,for their wedding, it was the least we could do. So that week we booked our flight for 5 February to celebrate life with D&D.
Of course, the party was cancelled because there was no home to hold it in, but we were going anyway. So instead of the 42degrees of Sydney as the climax of the longest heatwave in history last Saturday, we were basking in the relative coolness of Brisbane at 34degrees.
We arrived with armfuls of groceries and other goodies, along with a gift from friends who were so touched by D&D’s story from my Tweets in January, that they sent me a not-insignificant gift to just show them that people cared and wanted to do something tangible.
We knew that while stoic, D&D were actually struggling, it’s been incredibly tough. People’s kindness would just undo them. In particular, D2 was so overwhelmed by our friends’ gift, “These people don’t even know us.” This wasn’t the first kindness that D&D had received. They have been blessed by kindness, and likewise, they are paying it forward. Their neighbour’s house isn’t liveable, so of course, as soon as D&D’s house is, then their neighbours are moving in.
The frustrating thing for many people in Queensland is the insurance dilemma. One neighbour will have insurance cover from their policy, the next just won’t – same water, same flood. The insurance company has criticised D&D for working on their house. I don’t know about you, but if my house was washed away, my dignity could begin to be restored by getting stuck in by cleaning it up and making it a home again – and then sharing it with my neighbour who’s house still isn’t.
We were encouraged by stories of perseverance and courage that so often come out of events such as these. It is in the midst of adversity that great strength and community come to the fore. We know that D&D will be OK. They are determined to be.