Last weekend ex-Cyclone Oswald dumped on Queensland and parts of New South Wales.
Our farm was merely inconvenienced – we were cut-off overnight when the roads came up, but power was restored within eight hours, the phone and internet a few days later. Half a dozen trees were uprooted and mobile service disrupted, but we were grateful. On Sunday, Bearhands and I stood in our flooded paddock catching fish(!) and toasting the rain; watching it soak our parched farm.
Then in the early hours of Tuesday morning I learned that a childhood friend was fighting for her life after a freak accident that claimed the life of her three year old son. The following day another mate uploaded this photo taken of us on my twelfth birthday.
Comments abounded about our fresh faces – unaware of the tragedies each of us would face. This little group would weather life’s challenges and suffer great losses.
Since learning of the accident I’ve been able to write anything here. Waiting for news brings back the memories of waiting for updates after David’s accident. The post I’d written for the Big Sister’s first day of kindy on Tuesday seems flippant. I can’t concentrate. I’d hoped to contribute to a post for Salz Dummy Spit, but my heart just isn’t in it.
So I’m writing the only post that is coming to me – a letter to the Birthday Girl.Dear Amanda, Happy twelfth birthday. You’re a lovely bright young lady with loads of potential, but you’re overwhelmed by self doubt. For the moment, try not to worry about what other people think. It won’t always be like this. One day you’ll feel comfortable in your skin. In your thirties you’ll hear the term too school for cool and know that you’ve been this way all along. Boys, pffft. No hurry. The people who tell you “You’ll know when you’ve met the one” are right. You will. He’s wonderful. You’ll be so grateful to have him by your side – guiding, calming, comforting and insisting that you think too much. (It’s true, you do.) He’s a great bloke – answer his calls a little earlier than I did. Treasure the moments you have with your pesky brothers, David and Ant. Yes, I know they’ve made a nuisance of themselves at your sleepover, but they grow into fantastic men that you’ll love even more fiercely than you do now. The memories you’re making now will sustain you after David is gone. Stop trying to give yourself a smiley with a lighter – you are not nearly hard core enough to pull it off. And don’t drink so much at the Year Twelve graduation party. Keep smiling Sunshine*. There’s lots coming for you darling – good and bad, but you are infinitely stronger and more capable than you know. Surrounded by your family and friends, you’ll make this life a shining success. All my love,
Amanda * Your hockey coach Siddo is lying, you’re not his favourite – years later at his funeral you’ll discover that he says this to everyone. You’ll feel daft, but grateful that you didn’t realise until now. Make sure Mum nominates him for an Australia Day honour – he’ll win.