Diane Smith was always just a phone call away, a conversation in the street, for her community of Eugowra.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
On Tuesday, November 14, 2023 one year on from the flood that claimed her life, her photo was on stage at the local reflection service.
It was only right, her brother Tim Townsend said that day.
"That's who you expect to see, and the laugh that goes with it - I kept waiting for her laugh," he reflected.
Tim had made an early start to work on November 14, 2022, and was cut off in every direction by floodwaters.
When he was able to get back to town his only priority was to check on everyone in his family. The scale of the damage to his community horrified him.
"I would have been like everybody else, shock sets in whether you want it to or not," he said.
When he found out Di was missing he began to search. He describes those early days as horrifying.
"She had to be somewhere and I wasn't going to stop until I found her," Tim said.
That night Tim had to go back out to work so his colleague could take a turn getting home. He stayed a second night and resumed his search Wednesday morning.
That's when the police rescue team found Diane.
Diane was a maker of beautiful quilts and beautiful cob loaves, she was skilled in dressmaking and cooking, her brother says in tribute.
He'd go see her every day - they'd check in on each other - and watch The Big Bang Theory on repeat.
"Being the medical receptionist (the community) all thought highly of her: she was a phone call away, she was a conversation in the street away," Tim said.
Her loss is immense.
If Tim has a message for others in his community, it's to accept the offer of mental health support.
Veritas House now has free counselling sessions available for those affected. They reached out to Tim, and he accepted the offer.
"Some are unsure of the process, some are afraid that they may be forced into facing what happened and that's not the case," he said.
"They're simply there to offer some help and some guidance.
"They develop an understanding of what's going on with you and offer some suggestions from there.
"We all have our own journey and help is there for everyone."
Residents of Eugowra, Parkes, Forbes, Canowindra and surrounding villages who have been impacted by the 2022 floods can contact 1300 011 973 or www.veritashouse.org.au/ccs to book an appointment.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.