Dejavu anyone? In the last week or so Brisbane and parts of NSW and Sydney, have gone through a repeat of the 2011 floods. A one-in-one hundred year event that happened only 11 years since the last time – did someone say climate change!? It’s been a super challenging time for so many people, and my heart breaks for those who have lost everything again. We have been challenged by it too.
Last time, in 2011, most of our belongings were moved to the homes of about 5 of our friends, and we evacuated our house for 3-4 days. We were incredibly lucky to only have water in our yard and none in the house. The flood peaked at least 1m lower than had been predicted, which is what spared us. Stress levels were incredibly high, but we had Claytie to keep us calm and be a voice of reason.
This time, my oldest son and his fiancé live on the other side of the river, and were cut off very early in the piece. They had a knock on the door at 5am from police telling them to move theirs cars as the water was already there. They live in a small unit with their two dogs and decided to settle in for the day, with plenty of messaging between us checking in with each other and photos and videos being shared.
At our place, for some of us (not me) there was almost a sense of excitement. The last flood was a long time ago and the boys were very young then. Surely it couldn’t happen again, and certainly not as bad!? My stress levels were on a reasonable simmering high, and I did a lot of walking backwards and forwards to the river checking the rising water levels, trying to work out at which point things needed to be moved. Eventually I did manage to convince the boys that taking their belongings upstairs – at least those that would be impossible or just too difficult to replace, would not be an over reaction but rather a sensible precaution.
The pool needed to be emptied at least 5 times, and sandbags readied at the back door. I was also very worried about my mother-in-law being on her own – while my Father-in-law was away in Wollongong with Clayties sister, and not able to drive home. There was a small window of being able to get her to our place, before roads became flooded and no way in to get her, but she decided to wait it out at home, Clayties sister having booked my FIL to fly home early the next morning.
At about 7pm my son messaged to say they were evacuating. It was a case of now or not at all, the difficulty being their dogs. Apparently SES will not take pets when evacuating people – especially not 2x 45kg. My son had to wade through waist high water with suitcases, and then each dog – one at a time- over his shoulders. They then had to find somewhere to stay with the dogs. It was super stressful for everyone, with a huge sense of helplessness from me… they physically couldn’t get to us with all of the road closures. At this point my anxiety went into overdrive and the unfairness of Claytie not being there hit home. He would have known what to do, and he would have calmed me down. He would have made it ok for me. Eventually they found someone to take them in for the night and we could all breathe again.
It’s definitely been an adventure no one needed! Road closures meant either very very long and convoluted travel into work, or not being able to get there at all. The aftermath of wading through flood water meant a trip to the hospital for my daughter-in-law and antibiotics for both her and my son (both are fine now!). On the upside, moving stuff from downstairs to up and then back again, has meant that the boys bedrooms have all had a proper tidy up, without my having to nag about it! A silver lining for sure.
There is more bad weather predicted, and my heart goes out to all of those people whose worlds have been turned upside down from this. With the mess in our corner of the universe, and all of the other horrible things happening in the world, I can’t help but to wonder what else is in store for us, what comes next… locusts!?