Flood memories still painful for South Mur'bah
THE devastation suffered during the March floods continues to be felt by many in the Tweed Valley.
South Murwillumbah business owner Lou Sinclair lost 80 per cent of her stock during the floods, despite trying to save as much as she could.
The photo of Ms Sinclair neck-deep in water trying to reach her Kindred Collective store sign during the height of the floods circulated on social media as an indicator of how severe the flooding disaster was.
But almost eight months on, Ms Sinclair said that photo still haunts her as a reminder of the trauma from that night, which created much more damage than the loss of stock.
"(That photo) is still a trigger to this day,” Ms Sinclair said, explaining she's been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder since the floods.
"In the beginning I thought when I reopened that I would have that photo in a frame on the wall in the shop but it turns out I could barely look at that photo without it causing extreme distress.”
After reopening the shop in May, Ms Sinclair has decided to close indefinitely after the busy Christmas season, to take time out for herself and help her family heal.
"We reopened after three months of non-stop rebuilding and cleaning and I thought everything would be OK after that,” she said.
"I was strong for the first couple of weeks, smiling and talking to customers about our commonality of going through the March floods. I would be a supportive ear to them and them to me.
"We are taking time to heal our minds and body. So often we put money and other things ahead of our health. Nothing else matters.”
Ms Sinclair said she believed it was important people realised they didn't have to hide behind the pain caused by the floods and hoped others would take the time to put themselves first.
"I talk openly about PTSD and how I am feeling,” she said.
"I am not ashamed, I am however in disbelief still, as I feel that what I personally went through doesn't merit me feeling this way.
"Even though I am still struggling with the effects of the flood - and it has definitely taken a toll on my health - I have taken stock of my life to this point.”
Meanwhile, Ms Sinclair said she had plenty of stock available ahead of Christmas and encouraged her customers to visit.
"I am thankful to everyone who has supported the shop and hope they continue to do so until we close,” she said.
Ms Sinclair has started a clothing label, The Braveheart Co, to support an orphanage in Kathmandu City, Nepal, and is providing stationery to Nepalese children, which can be purchased in store.
- The Kindred Collective is open Tuesday to Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-3pm
- Visit www.facebook. com/KindredCollectives