An Australian Bushfirey

Here’s my story…

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I grew up with an RFS dad, living in bush, with one road in and out from our house.
I had Christmases wondering if dad would come home alive. Felt like EVERY Christmas in my childish memory.
It felt like things were on hold over summer but I don’t remember worrying about the presents and Christmas lunch, I remember worrying about fire. And what it would do to people. My dad was invincible, as they are. But I was worried about his mates, our community, my friends, the whole area we lived in – because conversations, probably not meant to be heard by kids, are absorbed. And, looking back, with our safety intact in 2020, I was worried about my dad, of course – I couldn’t think about it though, as that was too much for a small, hopeful mind.
The stories of men’s boots melting them to the rock then to the ground in the midst of blaze. The heavy kit they had to endure in those days. Whether or not they could get through oil-fuelled Eucalyptus bush on fire, at all. They whizzed about in my head.
History has moved us on and our incredible RFS are more educated about how to do it like Ironman nowadays. #superheroes #RFS Nevertheless, they are still vulnerable.
But, the reality of bushfire in Australia is still real for me 40 years on (even though it is widely recognised, by me, #Devotedhusband and #childrenwhowanttobefed, that I’m only 27 yrs old).
#Devotedhusband takes the precautions, but he is a cautious human being. Nevertheless, he admits, even though he was himself RFS at 18 years old as an English backpacker working in a rural Aussie school, that he feels like he can’t connect with the fear. He is genuinely upset for the tragedy, but he can’t understand my hyperactive fear to pack 10,000 bags, only watch the app, over-prepare (and probably scare the pants off) the kids, and generally NOT BREATHE for 28 hours while ‘Catastrophic’ is our governing day plan.
Media nowadays gives us so much more information – knowledge is power – and powerful. I feel like all of us and our kids who have been through this season, with the preparing, the detailed knowledge, the News vision and conversation with neighbours, friends and family – might feel similar to me.
Writing it out helps. It’s therapeutic. It creates AMAZING writing, HELPFUL writing, in a situation we have uniquely been thrown into in this country. Great for our kids who might relate to writing it out ( Or adults who have a story like mine who should record it for their babies to come, and to get it out. (
Get in touch if this is you.
Or, just get in touch to chat about it – the door is open.

Published by felicitylenehan

Felicity Lenehan Australia Experienced journalist, copywriter, sub-editor, editor and stylist, who has worked on newspapers, magazines, websites, newsletters, in marketing and PR, and for large and small corporations, internationally.

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