What a long seven days it has been.
The conference was not one of my favourite weekends, as fate conspired to turn everything I touched to mud! But that quickly paled into insignificance.
The worst bushfires ever seen in Australia touched volunteers and their families who were right there with us in Ballarat. One family learned they had lost everything but each other. Other volunteers were aware their homes were under threat and others were unable to get home due to road blocks across the state.
The Association rallied alongside the rest of the country and there were positive moments over the following days as we arranged a donation drive for the ABA volunteer and her family to start again.
Mid-week, another shock: baby Jordan Trigger, son of counsellor Jo in my region, was delivered prematurely at only 27 weeks gestation. Amazingly, this little fighter is doing well and breathing for himself, but there is a long journey ahead with no certainties.
Worst of all, there was more devasting news to come. Yesterday, Thursday February 12 2009, my lovely ABA friend Querida David, lost her son Rhys to a car accident. Rhys would have been 20 on Saturday and was the most lovely young man who I was honoured to have known. Querida is the newly-appointed ABA National President and spent last weekend attending our conference as an esteemed guest. She was at the forefront of supporting everyone during that anxious time and that despite her own home facing fire threat in NSW.
Today is supposed to be a celebration in our family: Kieran was born 18 years ago. My youngest child is now an adult. Yesterday, his sister Melissa went for her driving test and passed after failing just a few weeks ago. We should be celebrating her independence to drive alone after 7 years on her learner's permit, yet it is bittersweet.
As we move through difficult times in the coming weeks, supporting friends who are always there when we need them, it is a blessing to be a part of the large ABA family who have rallied support. My suggestion to post the above Mother's Love rose on Facebook profiles has bloomed into an amazing tribute.
If you would like to contribute, the Victorian Branch of the Australian Breastfeeding Association is collecting donations for one of our volunteer breastfeeding counsellors, whose family of two adults and four children have lost everything. Donations of major store gift cards can be delivered or mailed to the Breastfeeding Centre, Australian Breastfeeding Association, Suite 3/71 Robinson St, Dandenong VIC 3175.
I will arrange a condolence book for Querida at our Victorian office and invite all my ABA family to visit and sign over the coming weeks.
Please keep little Jordan in your thoughts as he continues to fight for life.