Dr Airdre Grant
Dr Airdre Grant

Lismore is pulling through, better and stronger than ever

THE woman from the Gold Coast looked at me with concern. "How did you go in the flood?" she asked. "It's been tough," I said. "I know," she commiserated. "In the cyclone it rained so much I had to take water out of my pool, not once but twice!" I didn't know what to say.

People deal with challenges in different ways. The response in Lismore has been nothing short of impressive. For days council workers have toiled, clearing the streets of the piles of sodden former businesses and lifestyles. The recovery centres are in full swing. This is a time when social media works for the greater good and it has been alive with offers of help. Our town is pulling through, better and stronger than ever.

It is as if Lismore has had a giant de-cluttering. The amount of flood damaged stuff that has been chucked is incredible. The pearl in the mud is the huge opportunity to refresh and revitalise. But it's hard work and there has been emotional toll. I have found myself to be thin-skinned, tetchy. When a friend from the city rang and asked gaily: "Did I drive my Chevy to the levy?" I found I had no capacity for that misjudged frivolity. It's been big. It is only now that things are calming down. After the physical work of cleaning out and repair, there is now time for the emotional work of simply getting over it. Helping others goes a long way towards lifting the spirit. The Lismore Helping Hands and after-flood clean-up has been going gang busters on Facebook. Murwillumbah and Coraki are also working like crazy to rebuild. SCU is doing heaps to help businesses get back on track. It's a group effort.

As for the Gold Coast woman and her overflowing pool ... her insensitivity challenged my resolution to be well behaved at all times. Remarks like that test my never deep reservoirs of patience.