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Sue fishing Sunshine Beach 2017

I’m back at the beach refreshing after a giant year and one of my favourite pursuits is having a fish. It’s so relaxing and simple – go to the shoreline, do the twist and feel the pippies with your feet, get out the knife and voila the bait is ready and out goes the line. The waves are rhythmical, relentless and there’s plenty of time to think. I have wonderful memories of fishing. My father Neil started me fishing when I was a young girl. So I always think of Dad when I fish.

Every year we’d head to Burleigh or Miami and every afternoon we’d head down to the water and stand side by side and throw out a line. He taught me the difference between the bite of a whiting, a dart and a flathead- the elusive flathead. I remember a day when we both caught a big flathead each – he was pretty excited. Today I did a wonky cast and had a chuckle about a day Dad and I went at 5pm and there was a roaring onshore, easterly wind blowing. It was pretty unpleasant, but Dad was determined he would still have his fish. It was too strong for me, so I sat on the beach and next thing he did a wonky cast and back came the hook, line and sinker straight back up the beach. We called it quits after that. Every year I come to the beach and fish, I think of Dad – which is nice. It’s a nice memory.

I also have wonderful memories of some fabulous holidays with the kids when they were little. We would come to a house called Sails every year. When they were little we could come at any time of the year and so it didn’t break the bank to have beach side house. It was always very windy on that gorgeous veranda overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Sails at Sunshine, but we’d always try and sit out there and eat our meals – a baby, a toddler and a Grade Oner. One year there was a spectacular phenomenon at night. We were eating our meal and suddenly when we looked out to the waves – efflorescent algae lit up the waves as they broke. We couldn’t believe it. Sadly no iPhones in those days so no photos to prove it. We’ve never seen it again but secretly every year I hope we’ll look out and see that amazing sight again.

Halley’s Comet

Another Sails holiday was spent searching the night sky for Halley’s Comet. Halley’s Comet only makes an appearance every 75 years so it was 1986 and we were on the verandah of Sails – so exciting because we were away from the city lights. The build up was more exciting than the event though. We looked and looked and didn’t see anything. But the process was fun. 2061 is the next visitation so it will be my kids and grandkids who will have to try and see it. They must remember to book at Sunshine to do so!

Another year the water at Sunshine was like a millpond. Now if you have been lucky enough to visit the Sunshine Coast and Noosa, you know ‘millpond ‘ is the classic Noosa water status and Sunshine is typically a bit wild and woolly. So this particular day we couldn’t believe it – the surf at Sunshine was missing and there was a giant, still lagoon where we did some bobbing and lolling about.

All these memories popped into my head today while I was at the beach. All delightful, warm and fuzzy memories from many years ago. Memories of my childhood. Memories of my kids’ childhood. Memories are lovely things, but sometimes memories can be awful.

Yesterday I was shocked and appalled when I heard some of the statistics from the Royal Commission into Institutional Reponses to Child  Sexual Abuse. After 5 gruelling years, the Commission has released a report with 186 recommendations designed to protect children from bad adults – which is what they are.

Very. Bad. Adults.

It got me thinking about the memories these kids have. We know that adverse childhood events play a significant role in what shapes us as people. I hear many of these awful adverse childhood events from my patients, who are suffering now as adults with chronic pain.

I don’t think these kids are remembering the night that Halley’s Comet came through. Or their fishing exploits with their Dad. No they are trying to forget the horrors that these people, who were supposed to be the most trusted people in their community – their priest, or their scoutmaster or their teacher – inflicted on them. And then they’re wondering why these Very. Bad. Adults. were protected by the police or their Archbishop or their Principal and allowed to keep being around children, even when so many kids had told of their abuses.

What prompted this blog being urgently written tonight is I saw a report on the news that the Catholic Church were not going to accept the recommendations of the Royal Commission. Now the Catholic Church were implicated in 64% of all the child abuse cases – 64%!

Why are they not weeping on TV apologising for ruining so many kids lives? Ruining their childhood memories. Ruining their happiness.

Why are they not on TV showering buckets of the Vatican wealth into the Redress Fund – saying we committed 64% of these violations we will pay 64% of the money needed for the Redress Scheme. Honestly I do despair at times at the unfairness of our world.

I do commend the work of the Royal Commission. What they heard must have kept them awake at night. I also commend Julia Gillard for setting up the Royal Commission which has challenged some serious established Australian institutions.

And I hope you create wonderful childhood memories for your children and grand children and save them from Very. Bad. Adults.