As the country braces for more wild bush fires and horrific drought conditions across the east coast, an Aussie mum has penned a heartbreaking open letter to other families battling the tragedy – with her moving words quickly becoming an internet sensation.
For the past few days brave fire fighters have risked their lives to save properties throughout Queensland and New South Wales with flames engulfing the homes of Australians and leaving many out on their own. With no rain on the horizon and dry, hot winds still forecast, mum Penny Lamaro has likened the situation to “Armageddon” and expressed her heartbreak at knowing families who had already been struggling for years with drought are now facing more disaster.
Taking to social media amid the devastation, the mum said the scene that stretches across parts of the Land Down Under is what she imagined the aftermath of World War III would appear. Using her words to express the sadness of many, Penny explained how her eyes are stinging “with the dreams and hopes of small families trying to ‘make it’ on the land”.
“I am choking on the soil that is their past, their present and any future they have,” she wrote on Facebook. “I am out here trying to see if I can help the many who have crumbled under the weight of death and loss. But I feel like I need saving myself. And now the new and very real threat of fire. Can dirt burn? Ironically the parched earth makes fires faster and more erratic. People have even less time to gather the detritus of their lives. Less time to keep each other safe. Less chance. Less luck.”
As a battler herself, the mum continued by explaining how her spirit is fading as the days go on and the family struggles to make ends meet. Thinking about the future of her daughter, Penny said it’s hard for some to understand the devastation and that it’s the little things that are getting them by at the moment, with fears the hardest times are still to come.
“When I get home with stinging eyes and a heavy heart my old mare trudges up the paddock to chew listlessly on the results of my frantic attempts to bring in enough money to keep us all going,” she wrote. “Her eyes tell me she is tired of this struggle. And I feel in her spirit that we have far to travel yet.
“I don’t know how much my daughter understands of how bad things are. How much does a young teenager comprehend of money, and it’s limits? She understands that she can’t ride her horse at home anymore because the ground is too hard and dry. She understands that she can’t ever miss feeding animals every morning and night, while I am working extra hours, because they will starve.”
Penny added: “But I’m not sure she understands how limited the resources might become for her to continue to do the thing she loves most in the world. That bloody horse makes everything ok. Even the fetid, stinking creek water that stains everything it touches and is all we have in the house. And the humping load after load of hay and feed every week. And the wearing dirty clothes because we can only wash in town once a week and it’s expensive as hell.”
This was the scary reality at Stanthorpe overnight.
Unfortunately, it’s not over yet.
Stay vigilant, keep up-to-date with warnings & follow the advice of authorities.
If you or your property is under threat ALWAYS call Triple Zero (000) immediately. pic.twitter.com/0OMGyrN8kW
— Qld Fire & Emergency (@QldFES) September 6, 2019
Though she is tough, the mum explained it’s not a choice anymore and they have to keep on going because it’s all they can do. Hoping others will be able to lend a helping hand to those most in need during this terrible time, Penny called on Aussies to support their farming friends and let them know they are there for support.
“Standing in the middle of a dust storm it’s easy to feel like you have been forgotten,” she continued. “Left behind. Don’t matter. I plead for those who today have watched their soil disappear on the wind because there was no grass to hold it down. And for those who tonight are watching what’s left burn up in angry flames. And those who are falling exhausted into bed tonight, who can’t sleep for worry, and who will rise in a few short hours to do it all again.
“You can’t make it rain but you can reach out to country folk to let them know you care. You can go for a drive and spend your money in a struggling town. You can make sure every cent you spend on produce goes to an Aussie farmer, not an international conglomerate. You can talk about the drought, and keep talking about it, so we know we aren’t forgotten.”
The post has been spread far and wide with thanks to the internet, giving Australians an insight into the tragedy that continues to unfold. Many have written messages of support for the mother in her time of hardship and explained how moved they were by her poetic words.
“Feeling you pain,” one person commented on Facebook. “As hard and tragic as this all is for you and your beautiful daughter, you are strong and compassionate and have a will to survive. Go and hug that old mare as she and your daughter will keep you going.”
While another wrote: “While we are sitting in our comfortable homes, with running water and able to put clean clothes on every day because we have endless water, think about these farmers in Queensland and NSW … some haven’t had rain for 11 years … others for seven. This letter made me cry. I don’t know how to help other than tell everyone to be aware.”
And a third added: “Your words touch me deeply. I admire your strength and courage. And I understand you really don’t have much of a choice.