Life, a magic carpet ride full of wonder, adventure and excitement.
Minor instability offset by laughter and new discovery, until major turbulence throws us off the magic carpet and we are falling, terrified, separated and searching for a safe landing.
There is no safe landing: below us is a volcano, its fatal interior exploding and bubbling, sending hot ribbons of destruction to cover the mountain.
We are no longer casual observers; we have been dropped into the confusion.
It is difficult to see clearly, it is impossible to think clearly.
Amidst the chaos I realize our family has been separated, there are only 3 of us when there should be 4. Who is missing? I feel the tiny trembling hands in mine and know that our two precious sons are with me, which means their father, my husband, is missing.
We stumble blindly, tripping and falling, desperate to find safety.
The rumblings are constant, hot deadly lava spills out over the top towards me and the ones I love.
There are moments of quiet, usually too brief, before another wave of deadly redness oozes towards us.
Others are on this lethal mountain, some have a clear trail with only trickles of lava in their path, narrow enough to step across, or perhaps a little more of a leap is required and they are free to run to safety.
Some are equipped with safety gear and can negotiate through the molten liquid.
Some have nothing but their determined spirit. Defiant in the face of adversity.
Some are closer to the rim, unable to avoid the bubbling, spitting volcanic emission and yet screaming ‘bring it on’ – issuing the ultimate challenge. Their courage is admirable.
I am suffocating. I want to breathe. I need to breathe but the air is toxic. I can’t fill my lungs with the clean air they are longing for. I am paralysed with fear but I have to move. I have to move to save my precious children. They need me. I need them.
We are all scared.
We are all at the mercy of this untamed mountain. Hoping to gain some control of what is uncontrollable.
The volcano will erupt. It is only a matter of time. How much time?
When will this fear be replaced with a sense of calm? Where is the path to safety?
I am edging slowly, carefully, twisting and turning, always searching for the safest route. Holding tightly to those I love, summonsing all my strength and wisdom to negotiate through the deadly redness.
Some we must leave behind, they are trapped, they know their fate. It is oozing towards them, painfully slowly.
We will not escape untouched, there will be burns, some on the surface and some much deeper. With professional care and much love and support we will survive.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.