The past week may have been difficult for those with memories they would rather forget.
Thursday marked significant periods since two tragedies took place – different in nature and era, but equally distressing for those involved.
Sunday saw the unveiling of a Violet Town memorial garden commemorating the Southern Aurora train disaster, where a passenger train hit a goods train head-on in 1969, killing nine people.
It ended four days of events marking the 50th anniversary of the collision and came in response to a community feeling its impact had not been properly recognised.
For some relatives and those first on the scene, the formal acknowledgements were a chance to revisit sites they had avoided.
“I’ve always shut my eyes going through Violet Town (on the train) or read a book so it’s been quite nice to get to know people and learn what they did,” Gwen Ziebell, the widow of one victim, said.
Mixed emotions have also accompanied the many remembrances of Black Saturday and those terrible Victorian bushfires a decade ago.
As clinical psychologist Rob Gordon observed during a visit to Mudgegonga, a lot of people in fire-affected areas didn’t want to think about the past.
Dr Gordon, whose counsel has been appreciated in the North East, noted everyone’s experiences and feelings would vary.
“People talk about the idea of bouncing back – if we dropped a bunch of balls from the roof, they would all bounce in different directions,” he said.
They would, indeed, and also could bounce differently again tomorrow or the next day or in a year’s time.
We can’t go back but for some there is value in joining with others to recall what happened and to honour those lost.
Specific projects or events can help bring communities closer together and give individuals a focus or outlet for their grief.
Now the anniversaries have passed and the next stage of recovery – itself an imperfect word – begins.
Even though the public attention may shift away, let us always remember those who can never forget.
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