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After the Bondi Junction tragedy, it is okay to feel scared

Tori Bowman Johnson

Tori Bowman Johnson

Tori, a freelance writer, has worked in production, talent management & branding since her agency role at Vivien’s Model Management in Melbourne in 2011. Tori has recently launched, The First Word; a conversational podcast for women, particularly those who juggle young children & paid work. Tori is also a very proud mum of two little boys.
Created on Apr 16, 2024 · 4 mins read
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To everyone who was affected by the tragic occurrence at Bondi Junction Westfield on Saturday the 13th of April, my deepest condolences. 

Every thought, Australia-wide, is with you. Every hand is holding yours. Every heart is holding yours.

It is impossible to assign a word that reflects how the population is feeling right now. Despite the uneasy haze, there are some things, however, we know for sure. Each life lost will forever be etched into what defines Australian strength and courage. Each life lost will forever be treasured by the nation.

As a woman and a mother, I can only assume I am not the only one to have woken up today with a complex sense of fear. Everything feels a little different? A little blurred … or unbound.

I went to my local shopping centre after school drop-off, as I do most Monday mornings and it felt hollow. While people were chatting, shopping, and browsing, the atmosphere seemed blanketed by an unspoken ache.

It felt littered by the eggshells we were all walking on and crowded by a big elephant in the room. I think every single person imagined the same vision at some point and thought to themselves; how terrified those people must have been?

Walking down the centre corridor with nothing in my hands other than empty bags ready to be filled with nappies and lunch box snacks, my mind sped ahead. If that awful event happened right now – how would we all protect each other from harm? How would we survive?

Allow yourself to grieve how you need, without judgment.

From the fearful visual, my mind jumped to the six lives that were taken, the 9-month-old baby girl fighting for life, the injured individuals currently in hospital, and the many, many lives that were shattered on Saturday afternoon.

Every woman who walked past pushing a pram left a heaviness that was hard to hold.

To the truly divine mother, Ashlee Good – may you rest in true peace. Your courageous soul will always remain in Australian hearts as your act of bravery demonstrated everything that motherhood should be.

To Ashlee’s family; what a special woman you raised and loved. How heartbroken we are for your loss.

Life following on from this heartless attack will affect each of us differently as we return to the day- to-day routine. Some people will be forced to navigate intrusive thoughts if and when they gatecrash without warning. Some people may feel a little detached, angry or numb. Some people will try to compensate for the dark sadness with efforts of love and joy.

This week and during the weeks to come, everyone will need to prioritise their mental health and keep an eye out for those around them.

If we can avoid assuming that our feelings will be shared by our peers and instead allow everyone to cope how they need to cope, we might find that our individual paths will lead us back together without force.

Saturday’s tragedy will trigger people in ways no-one cannot predict. To everyone, sending love and thoughts.

Please ask for help when and if you need it.

Cry if you need to.

Read the news and gather as much information as you need, if this is helpful to you.

Avoid the news and social media altogether, if this is helpful to you.

Take a mental health day and allow yourself to gravitate towards whatever brings positivity and light, if this is helpful to you.

Play music or listen to a podcast, if this is helpful to you.

Hug your children.

Call your family and friends.

The space all Australians are coexisting in right now is extreme and widely unchartered. You’re not alone in your fears, your sadness – or your questions

But know this, there is a lot of love washing over Australia right at present. Be kind to each other and yourself, today and always.

For those needing help:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander crisis support line 13YARN on 13 92 76
  • Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
  • Headspace on 1800 650 890
  • ReachOut at au.reachout.com
  • MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978

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