Shelley and Ron Berger are barely beginning to come to terms with how their life has changed after the fire on Easter Sunday that destroyed their home and that of their neighbours, the Skinner family.
The most painful part is the loss of their beloved dog, Holly, a 20-month old ‘groodle’ who was “so young and full of life”.
“We are grieving our beautiful little girl,” Shelley said.
“She was an inside dog and completely a part of our family … it is very hard to get used to her absence.”
The glimmer of light in this bleakness has been the overwhelming support the couple have received from the Eungai Creek community and beyond.
“Everyone has been so generous and we would like to sincerely thank people for that,” Shelley said.
Their thanks go out to the ‘firies’ who came to their aid on Easter Sunday, Essential Energy and all the volunteers who turned up to help.
“Our thanks too, to Janelle and Graeme, who put us up that first week, to my sister Debbie and her husband Steve, who have been fantastic during this period.
“My niece Sara Stephens for her fundraising efforts, Anne-Marie and Andrew at the Eungai Creek General Store and the entire Eungai Creek community. Also my supervisor Sheryl Taylor and my colleagues at Nambucca Valley Care.”
Their thoughts also go out to the Skinner family: “We wish them well as they start putting their lives back together.”
And Ron’ sister, Selina Lewis, who is still immobile and recovering in hospital with the two broken ankles she sustained when she leapt from the veranda to escape the inferno.
For Shelley and Ron, it is one day at a time, a lot of red tape and paperwork and the pervading sense of disbelief at their new reality.
“We are starting from scratch – we don’t have anything.
“Everyone has been wonderful. Family and friends have sent parcels of clothes from far and wide – even from Perth.”
The couple have found accommodation in the area, not far from their home.