By Amy Molloy, MD® Deputy Editor
As my husband packed his overnight bag, I wondered what I’d tell our toddler about where he was going and how long he’d be away, especially as we don’t know the answer ourselves.
We are one of the lucky families (so far!). Our home on the South Coast of Australia is safe from the fires, and although my husband has been deployed to assist with the Rural Fire Service, he is not on the ‘front line’ and is as protected as possible. But I still cried when we said goodbye… I didn’t cry just for myself (although, a little bit as I’m #human). I also cried for all the mamas waiting at home for days, weeks and months at a time, whose partners are firefighters or one of the amazing volunteers protecting our country.
Of course, there are a LOT of incredible mothers battling the blazes too. However, many volunteers couldn’t be there – offering their time and their energy – if it wasn’t for another army who are somewhat invisible.
To the other-halves, the spouses, the support systems of the men and women who are holding the hoses – we see you, we salute you, and we don’t want you to feel forgotten. We see you putting your children to bed on your own; waiting, hoping and wishing, constantly checking your phone even though you know there is no signal or power there. We see you soothing big fears and tears about smoke, haze and ash; packing an evacuation bag just in case, knowing that forgetting a teddy bear would be devastating to your little ones.
We know you downplay your impact (‘I’m just at home with the children’) because you’re not the one wearing orange with a badge on your chest. But without you, a fighter wouldn’t have the freedom to fight. Most importantly, they wouldn’t have as much of a reason to fight.
While they are fighting the present danger, you are caring for our future. And that should never be undervalued.
This is a message to the other-halves, the spouses, the support systems of the people who are holding the hoses. We see you, we salute you, we support you… and THANK YOU.
“To the other-halves, the spouses, the support systems of the men and women who are holding the hoses – we see you, we salute you, and we don’t want you to feel forgotten.”
Some of the ways you can help
1 // Donate
Celeste Barber has set the goal of raising $45 million for the NSW Rural Fire Service, you can donate here. You can also throw your support behind the Australian Red Cross and Salvation Army, or contribute to one of the collections via GoFundMe, which go direct to the many victims of the bushfires.
2 // Help save the animals
About 500 million animals have died in these bushfires and volunteers are working around the clock to try and save the poor animals who are injured. Want to help? Donate to WIRES’ Emergency Fund for Wildlife and World Wildlife Fund Australia. AND as Summer temps continue to soar, don’t forget to leave out bowls of water for our thirsty wildlife.
3 // Buy a native tree
For every donation to Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund, they will plant native trees and shrubs using local seeds to regenerate the natural landscape and protect Australia’s environment for future generations.
4 // Support local businesses
Help rebuild towns and businesses affected by the Aussie fires by supporting the local businesses.
5 // Feed the hungry
Monetary donations to Foodbank Australia are preferable, but you can also donate tinned goods and other pantry staples, personal hygiene products and pet food.
Remember: No act of giving is ever too small – every little bit counts! #prayforaustralia