Despite not feeling able to articulate this, I did manage to respond to a post by Poppalina and rather than try to recraft them - if sums up how I feel about this horrible, unimaginable disaster.
Survivor guilt. I think we've all got it right now and those of us who are enjoying the comfort of our city homes feeling a strange mix of bewilderment and utter uselessness.
I spent yesterday afternoon visiting my neighbour who'd lost her home in the Ash Wednesday fires. I figure PTSD runs deep, 26 years is nothing and all it takes is a whiff of smoke and 24 hour a day emergency radio broadcasts to bring it all back. She was holding up ok but her husband was feeling very wobbly. They couldn't bear to watch tv but had been listening to radio. She wanted to talk about the day her life changed and pulled out a photo taken the day after their house burnt down. It was gutting. Totally flattened, the odd brick recognisabe, a garden light and the water tank the only remaining items. She pointed in the direction of another property naming the dead, recalled another neighbour who's frantic knock on their door in the middle of the night had saved their lives (exhausted from weeks of hot weather and alerts and 7 months pregnant she was sound asleep up to the moment the fire reached their property)....
Somehow the couple of hours we sat chatting made me feel better. As devastated as they are, those that survive just with the clothes on their backs but with no direct loss of lives feel grateful. Human resilience is amazing.
But 108 confirmed dead and rising far too swiftly...now that leaves too many ripples in far too many peoples souls...
It goes without saying that I, along with every other person with a heartbeat around here, wish I could do more than donate money (the relief centres don't want material donations right now and I am ineligible to be a blood donor). I suspect we can offer more concrete help once the immediate crisis has passed.
There are 100's of CFA volunteers on the front lines, working around the clock. My utmost admiration to all those amazing men and women who risk their lives to do this. I also think of volunteers' families back home who can't help but worry about them as they fight the fires.
Thanks also to ABC radio 774 for their around the clock emergency broadcast, so many people in front of and behind the microphones providing amazing coverage.