Poem from a victim of the 2020 Australian Bushfires
So how are you?
We’re going okay, I say.
Back to normal then?
You must be…
It’s been nearly three months,
You’re back at work
So good on you, you’re back to normal.
I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut
Back to normal ??
Are you kidding?
I walk and talk the same
On the outside
I work and appear the same
On the outside
But, no, I’m not back to normal
You see, I have no home, no anchor, no sanctuary.
I’ve lost so much
Yet I’ve lost nothing at all, considering my family are safe.
I have new clothes
I have new things
But given the choice I would like my own things back please.
New is nice, what was mine was nicer.
My life is a contradiction.
My home is destroyed but I’m living in a beautiful house
My kitchen is burnt metal cutlery tangled in the remains of a drawer.
But I have more kitchenware supplies than I could ever use.
I am grateful, so grateful, my family is ok
Thankful for friendship and community support
But I’m restless, uneasy and exhausted .
My routine is all wrong
My friends and neighbours are scattered
Trying to reconnect
But blown like the burnt leaves in other directions.
What can help me?
Who can help me,
Do I just get on with it?
I need a cleared block
Will it give me a purpose?
Just be patient I’m told.
I feel nearly three months of destruction and no change is patience,
No clearing yet,
“In three weeks we will start”
That was four weeks ago
Yesterday: “we will start in two more weeks”
No control, no way to move on.. yet.
Get informed, I thought.
So I did.
Try to be a positive mover and shaker,
Get the facts, I agree it’s easier to deal with then,
But the facts and the reality are, it’s taking a long time,
Taking a toll.
No cleanup for most, just yet
So, no, not back to normal
Not ungrateful but strained.
So tired of this mess,
Of this situation,
Of no progress.
Of broken deadlines.
Desperately trying to move on and be accepting,
But, unfortunately, disappointingly,
Sadly, no, not back to normal.
Is there even a normal anymore?