Who would have thought I’d be “that girl” who could find anything to be grateful for after the last 72 hours, but here I sit on my slightly damp mattress, surrounded by kaos watching the beginning of the dawn unfold as we come to see for the first time the damage caused by Cyclone Debbie. Feeling weirdly decadent, I’m sipping an almost icy cold coffee from a crystal glass that the amazing Queen Suebah had the forethought to freeze into ice blocks before the monster hit.
Living through a Category 4 Cyclone, that was technically just 5 kilometres an hour (wind speed) short of a Category 5, is nothing to laugh at my friends, and I do admit to moments of serious fear throughout,….. LONG and scary moments in fact! While the cyclone raged around us, a sound that can only be described as a couple of 747 jet planes launching from your front door, we sat huddled on the stairwell landing that was “Base Camp” for days with Little Chef, who unbelievably knew his job was to loyally stay with us, offering love and cuddles way more in excess than his fear of storms or need to go pee. He may be my fur baby, but seriously folks, this little man outdid himself and was a tower of strength and courage and right now, I’m a little bit in awe of him.
They say catastrophe brings out the good, bad and brave in people and at this moment I’m not that sure what good ol’ Cyclone Debbie brought out in me, but, I doubt I’ll ever forget seeing my Momma Bear jump up and bring Little Chef outside to pee in the brief moments while we were in the eye of the cyclone – what an eery and uncomfortable feeling that was. Or seeing the faces of our incredibly generous neighbours deliver a hot plate of spaghetti and meatballs late last night as Cyclone Debbie roared around us, arriving by lantern light with the noise of the wind making it virtually impossible to communicate, but these wonderful people wanted to ensure that we Southerns were ready for the powerful second punch Cyclone Debbie was about to throw at us. Little did we know that Debbie’s tail would last another gruelling 5 hours or so and where all the damage would be done.
Dawn is starting to shine light on the damage and reality is starting to invade my little moment of bliss and gratitude. Who would have thought I’d be simply relishing this moment right now with a cool tropical breeze coming through an open window and the taste of seriously good coffee? There is going to be so much to come to terms with over the next many weeks as we learn the true extent of damage to our little townhouse, how my island home fared and whether or not there is a job to go back to even? Throughout all the ferocity and fear we were all experiencing, word came from my colleagues stuck on Daydream that my little island paradise took a beating, a serious beating. This and more is all still in front of us. But right now, right at this moment I’m so bloody grateful we survived.
The breeze I’ve been so enjoying has picked up speed, the radar map shows another storm coming through, and once again the rain is starting to pour. Oh yeah, and that constant banging noise that started happening through the dead of night sometime after our gutter flew off to god knows where, turns out to be our neighbours roof…. and not ours. The carpet, curtains and bedding are all a little bit damp and downstairs there is a bit of flooding. But, for now, thank you ALL for the messages, phone calls, thoughts and prayers that came from all over the world, you will never know just how much you contributed to my sanity.