by CARREN SMITH
Trauma, adversity, tragedy; we all define them differently and due to the complicated tapestry that makes up our individual personalities and past experiences, one event can be experienced in a multitude of ways.
And so I’ve learned in my journey as a survivor of the 2002 Bali Bombing, that one event can also be a catalyst for growth and expansion. Like the butterfly that goes through hell in its transformation from a tiny caterpillar to emerge triumphant as a beautiful butterfly, it is possible as humans to experience the same transition and eventually come out the other side. It’s taken me 10 years, but I can now look at my experiences as an incredible gift and without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wouldn’t have the insight I now have.
While I’ve processed internally the emotions of the attack for so long, I’ve recently shared my story publicly with Sixty Minutes and Marie Claire, so now the facts of my story are widely reported… Suffering a deep depression following the suicide of my partner, I travelled to Bali with my two best friends to commemorate the first anniversary of his passing. I had developed such intense hatred for myself, that I had made the decision to take my own life while in Bali, neither of my friends being aware of my plans.
Only a few hours after arriving in Bali we found ourselves at the Sari Club and in the centre of the terrorist attack which killed 202 Australians, including my friends Jodi and Charmaine, yet for some unknown miracle spared me. I suffered serious head injuries and came close to death on many occasions. The irony of the situation was not lost on me, and I made the decision to live the rest of my life in tribute to my lost friends.
There are hundreds of stories like mine that have emerged from the ashes of the Bali Bombing, for each of us the journey of the past 10 years has been a personal and sometimes lonely one. The first five years following the attack life passed by in a fog of nothingness. It was only through the unwavering support of my family and friends that I was able to climb out of the black hole.