2022 was supposed to be a better year. I was wrong, so wrong

ABOVE: Lantern tributes to tinnie heroes at Lismore Lantern Parade.


Susanna Freymark

This year has been heavy like the rain.

Like a flood.

It’s hard to remember what happened before February 28. There is the blur of covid restrictions easing and no more lockdowns. The years of the pandemic faded as life supposedly went back to normal.

When 2020 came to an end, there was a collective “good riddance”.

2021 wasn’t any better with covid mutating and impacting how we lived.

Bring on 2022, I said. It has to be better. It couldn’t possibly be worse.

I was wrong.

Getting kitted out to go into the cold room at Casino meatworks in May this year. Photo: Kim Honan

The rain came. A big cloud hung over the Northern Rivers and didn’t move for days. It stayed stuck in the sky above us and drowned the homes and farms of the communities I cover for news.

From the first Facebook posts of people stuck on roofs pleading for help as the water rose, this was a disaster of enormity rarely seen before.

The rain was endless and the tragedy never-ending as people grappled with losing their homes, businesses and themselves.

Tinnie rescue. Photo: Eddie Lloyd

I wrote stories from the videos and photos sent to me. I couldn’t go anywhere. There was water everywhere.

There was the loss of homes, the death of farm animals and crops, deaths of people in floodwaters and in landslides – here was a disaster movie unravelling around us.

I’m wary about seeing 2023 as a better year – as the good year we all deserve.

After covering the floods and my own health scare, I yearn for a year of quiet. No drama, no disasters.

Feeding a calf at a farm on Peacock Creek Rd, near Bonalbo in January this year.
Can 2023 be like this moment please?

I yearn for conversation that is meaningful, for nature to nurture and for the skies to be kind and rain enough to keep the land thriving, but that is all.

Let a new year arrive slowly, gently – without fanfare or fuss.

More than ever, we need to be kind and gentle to those around us and to ourselves.

Find joy where you can. In this end of a horrific year, I wish for all of you the gentleness you need in your life.

We are here for a short time. Let’s make it count.

Trying to get to Coraki but floodwaters still too high on March 4.
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