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Thursday, 30 March 2017

After the Storm - Launching into the Future

As I sit in disbelief, still reeling slightly at images of my old digs on an island in the Whitsundays that I used to call home, I reflect on what it means to loose something. The trees on Hamilton Island are completely denuded, reduced to leafless trunks standing damp and defenceless in a landscape that resembles a nuclear test sight. It is truly heartbreaking to see.
Harbour View apartments Hamilton Island photo attribute Newcastle Herald

I have some idea of what it must be like there. I have lived through one or two cyclones in my time, after all, even whilst on Hamilton but I can't pretend to know what those who've lost their homes, their boats, their livelihoods are feeling. Loss is a personal thing that affects each and every one of us in profoundly different ways.


On a far less violent and brutal front, now that the new-publication storm surrounding the launch of The Fix-It Man subsides, I take a further moment to reflect on this book of mine and Nicky's. This story about loss and grief that we knew was purposeful and beautiful but never really understood just how meaningful it would be for all those who would read it, that is until now.

Three launches, a dozen or so media interviews, and a sky-full of reviews later and we are just beginning to understand how this story can affect everyone because loss is not selective. It does not discriminate between colour and creed, age or circumstance. It doesn't care about the car you drive or what you eat for breakfast. It comes in many guises; the death of a loved one, the passing of a pet, the relocation of a friend, the destruction of a former haven you called home. Sometimes it just can't be avoided.

The one common denominator about loss of any kind, I think, is the destabilising of the memories associated with that thing or situation or person removed from your life, which makes their absence all the more keenly felt. Sometimes memories are all we are left with. They can sting or strengthen. They are part of the gaps left behind by loss and crucial to the grieving and rebuilding process.

Fortunately for me, I have wonderful indelible memories of both Hamilton Island and every single minute of our launch parties (yes we had three). I'd like to share some of them with you and remind you that it's okay to feel moved to tears, laughter or even just quiet resignation whenever you encounter a situation that challenges your emotions, like reading a sad story or witnessing heartbreaking images. If you didn't, you wouldn't be human.

So please, until the sun shines again, enjoy. Cherish. Rejoice. We did.