Once again, the start of the fire season rolled around just as fast as it ended. This time we approach the 2019/20 season, which can only be associated with the most overused word of 2020, “UNPRECEDENTED”. Multiple mega fires spread across Eastern Australia, Covid-19 began running riot across the globe, and yet neither of these things would be the most defining event in my life that year.
December 24th, Christmas Eve, 2019, we were in the middle of a week-long battle trying to control two large fires running along the ridgelines of two adjacent mountain ranges in Gariwerd National Park. One evening I received a call from my dad. He reluctantly told me that he had been diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer, treatable, but incurable.
For the rest of the season Holly and I were driving between Gippsland, Halls Gap and the Mornington Peninsula. It took about four hours to drive from home over to the peninsula to care for dad and help accompany him to his treatments & appointments.
There are so many lessons to learn from this moment in time, but the most important was and is: some things are just completely out of your control. It’s worth more to you to focus on things that are good than it is stressing about those that are bad and that you have no control over… harder in reality.
Sadly at the time it was incredibly hard for me to understand this concept, thankfully my psychologist was gradually guiding me through it. Unfortunately, navigating the world of terminal cancer is hard at the best of times and navigating it during the coronavirus pandemic certainly added a few more complexities. As we went in and out of lockdowns it was getting harder and harder to make the trip over to see dad as freely as it had been in the past. During the season I had taken dad to numerous targeted radiotherapy treatment sessions, which seemed to be holding the growth of the cancer at bay for the time being.