Just sayin’…

November 27th, 2023Just sayin’…

The past couple of weeks have been horrendous for many people. First and foremost for the friends and family of those people who died in the Daylesford accident.

By Donna Kelly

The past couple of weeks have been horrendous for many people. First and foremost for the friends and family of those people who died in the Daylesford accident.

But also for the many first responders – which includes members of the public who just happened to be there and those working at the two hotels, The Royal and The Daylesford.

Like many we had been out, for lunch on a lovely spring day, and been home a few hours when the phone started to share texts. The TV went on and we watched in horror and disbelief as the events unfolded. We listened as the Glenlyon CFA headed into town.

The next morning, early, we went to the site. I don’t really know why. I guess we are media, so that is our role, but I think we were just operating on auto-pilot.

We didn’t stay long, talking briefly to a Melbourne journalist who was in a lovely pink suit, obviously not well thought out, but how do you prepare for something like this, and also to a shopkeeper who didn’t know whether to open or not. I think they did in the end just so people could have somewhere to go and talk.

Someone else asked how we were coping and said they wished Daylesford could just go back to being a sleepy rural town where nothing happened. Another person added “how much more can we take?”

Then the flowers and teddy bears started to be placed at the statue and counsellors could be seen at the site and up and down the street all day, mixed with metro journalists and camera operators. Everyone I know had texts and calls asking if they were OK.

And I guess that was one of the hardest things to comprehend, that it could have been anyone, just sitting there, in the sun, on a long weekend, taking in the scenery and just relaxing in a quiet country town.

And as the news continued in its 24/7 cycle we just kept out of it. Perhaps that seems strange. I know a lot of people were looking at our website to find information, and maybe it was the wrong call, but I made the decision to wait.

We can’t compete with that sort of timing and we don’t want to. It’s too close and too raw. As you would have read on page 3 one of our journalists Narelle was there at the Daylesford Hotel, just enjoying a drink with friends. Too close.

Narelle helped at the scene in a major way, as she would. She went straight to comfort a young child, as she would. I have always thought of her as the kindest person I have ever met.

Anyway, this week I decided we would have to run something, but how do you make something positive, which is mostly our way, out of something so awful? I followed Narelle’s lead, who has written about connections and love.

And the four people I spoke with, all still clearly emotional, have pretty much done the same in their own ways. Love for their community, their teams, their people, their emergency responders. It was a hard week but I hope people realise we have reported with compassion and care.

And if you do need help, please reach out. I know from experience that counselling does work and keeping it all bottled in, doesn’t. Well, it has worked for me in the past. And there is no timeline. Just sayin’…

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