On Thursday it will be a year since I arrived home from my long stay in hospital (Goodbye Room 103). I don’t need to tell you it has been quite a year!
For many it has been a devastating and traumatic year. Horrific, climate-change-fueled bush fires raged across large swathes of drought-desiccated Australia, threatening and taking lives, livelihoods, houses and habitats, and spewing toxic smoke. And then there was Covid-19, which, along with political responses and mitigation strategies, has also been wreaking havoc with health, lives, jobs and economies/societies.
Of course, I have not been immune to the impact of fire and pandemic. Friends living near the bushy fringes of our suburb were evacuated from a fire that had Kimi’s school in its sights; Mum was twice evacuated from her regional Victorian town; I couldn’t smell the smoke (as I don’t breathe through my nose) but could feel its effects on my lungs if the house was left open; and I grieved for friends who lost property and beloved animals, for strangers who lost loved ones, for creatures and bushland.
I have already written about my experience of Covid. You can read this piece published by the ABC (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-17/coronavirus-lockdown-ventilator-icu-motor-neurone-disease-help/12246700). And I have written and (with the help of my mate Ryan) robotically read a statement for this week’s special hearing about Covid-19 by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. The hearing will be live-streamed on the Commission’s website, starting 10am tomorrow (Tuesday) and I am scheduled to appear at 2pm on Friday: https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/
Even though this has been a strange and tragic year for the world, it has been a special year for me. A year of being alive. A year of being home. A year of being with my gorgeous family. A year of being a Mum, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an auntie, a friend, a third-rate cat cushion. A year of being cared for, and co-generating jokes. A year of coffee and cake. A year of writing, notably this Art tickle.
And I’ll end this post here, so I can get back to writing my talk for next week’s A world without MND webinar, a live update from Macquarie University’s Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research, 6-7.30 pm AEST, Wednesday 26 August. Register https://event.mq.edu.au/world-without-mnd/registration/Site/Register