The Australian bushfires have taken so much from so many.
In New South Wales, around 1, homes have been destroyed.
In Clarence, a hill-top town in the Blue Mountains, we saw people scrabbling to retrieve what possessions they could.
Homes have no power and no water.
Some places are still too dangerous to return to.
But whatthis weekend’s firetook from Evonne Balcar feels especially cruel.
Her son Arthur was diagnosed with cancer aged 18 months.
He fought the disease for years, enduring regular hospital trips and gruelling treatment.
One weekend, Arthur and his mum planted a small tree, a Wollemi Pine, in the garden.
Arthur was just five at the time, but he helped dig the hole, get the tree in position and put water it in.
Eighteen months after planting the tree, Arthur died, aged six.
The tree became a special place for Evonne, and she watched it grow to more than six feet tall, a reminder of her son’s strength.
But when the fire came, surrounding her house on Saturday, she had to leave the tree – and pray it’d be there on her return.
It was not.
“It was gone, just gone. All burnt. And that was really, really hard to deal with.”
Evonne sobs as she shows me the sad, burnt remains.
“I don’t think there is anyway it will come back. That would be a miracle if it did.
” The Australian bush is resilient. Sometimes it just needs a little rain and things start sprouting again.
“And that reminds me of Arthur, how he was with his cancer treatment. Always fighting back when we’d thought he’d gone . “
Incredibly, the smiley-faced statue at the base of the tree isn’t even blackened.
For her, it feels like a sign that her boy is still with her.
“Isn’t that just amazing?” she asks me. “I asked him to look after the house and he did.
” I feel like he was saying: ‘I’ve got your back, mum. I’ve got your back. ‘”
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