2011 – not such a great start

It seems ages ago since I recapped the last year, lamenting its twists and turns and hoping, like many, that this year would be different.

It was only two weeks ago, and already so many events have occurred that have me reaching for life’s railings, a pit of dread forming in my stomach.

Last week, I wrote of the sad situation that fellow blogger Lori found herself in. That we were all praying for her beloved Tony and hoping against all hope that he’d pull through.

Unfortunately, he lost his fight for life on Monday. Lori has continued to be brave on her blog as she battles to come to terms with her loss and be there for her two young children. My thoughts and love are with her.

Incredibly, the blogging community pulled together with a fund raising drive for Lori that at this stage has raised in excess of $3700. You can help Lori here.

Just as I was getting my head around this news, images were flashing across the television of devastation closer to home with the flash flooding of Toowoomba.

On Tuesday morning I drove to work under an eerie grey sky, unsure at that stage of the true extent of the devastation and what was to come in this very city, having not yet seen the news the previous night or that morning.

After dropping Jarvis at daycare and grabbing my morning cappucino, like any other day, I arrived at work and saw the lunch-room television relaying images of nature at its most severe. Vans being hurtled into buildings, people clinging onto rooftops and brown, sludgy rapids of water rushing down streets.

And then the words – “It’s feared the cities of Ipswich and Brisbane are next”.

The images then rendered themselves even more real and frightening.

We all then tried to get on with our day. It’s deadline week at work, and we all had stories to write and edit and pages to design. It suddenly felt so pointless, one eye was kept on news updates.

And then the phone calls started. First, Jarvis’s daycare rang to let me know they were closing early so we could all get home safely. Then my dad calls asking if we were evacuating. My best friend called from Coles, where she and fellow shoppers were stocking up on necessities. It’s then I was starting to get really worried.

The news reports started to get more frantic, city workers were evacuating. Our office is just a suburb from the city, and not far from the river. Our boss didn’t seem too concerned, so we continued to work on.

Meanwhile, the gridlock started outside our office windows. Now I just wanted to get out of there.

Ad was on his way on the train to get Jarvis and the car, so I decided we would all leave together and go home. Files were emailed home for completion.

The drive home took a long time, it was weird experiencing peak hour at 1pm – the air hung heavy with the unknown. We knew our suburb wouldn’t flood, but we didn’t know how far the river would rise and what roads would be cut off.

Now, two days later … the news is filled of images of our flooded city. We are fine here, things are eerily normal – but just a few kilometres away houses are completely full of water. My sister’s suburb is one of the worst hit, her townhouse wasn’t affected but she has had power off since Wednesday morning with no idea when it will be restored. I sit here waiting for both her and Ad to arrive home here so she can have a hot shower and a hot meal.

It still feels a little surreal. The first house I lived in when I moved to Brisbane 13 years ago in Fairfield would most certainly be under water, the floating river walk outside the apartment block I lived in at New Farm has washed down the river, and Rosalie Village that we ate out at countless times and I drove past a few times a week is a lake.

But I am here dry with an intact house and a roof over my head. My heart goes out to all the affected people throughout Queensland – it’s going to be a long clean up and some things may never be the same. But there is a feeling here that eventually things will be okay.

To help out the Queensland Flood victims, give to the Premier’s Flood appeal.

Photo: Flood at Brisbane Powerhouse by Andy Norris, http://www.abc.net.au