Same Day. Same Time. Different Lives.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
At 12.51pm today I was in the exact same place I was at the same time, this day last year.
Just me and Alice home alone. I sat on my couch in the same spot that I sat down at 12.45 last year with a cup of coffee in my hand and my laptop on my knee.
Unless you have experienced an earthquake of sizeable magnitude, you cannot in any way understand the absolute terror at the moment the shaking hits.

I don't want to forget those moments ever. I heard the boom in the east. I remember looking out the window towards the sea and wondering if this aftershock would be very big. Now, in hindsight, I think that boom must have been the quake hitting the city centre. It always took a few seconds to reach us out at North Canterbury.

For the first time in my life, I was struck with a moment of indecision in an emergency. With the walls shaking, the doors rattling, and the windows buckling, I didn't know what to do. I just stood there in my dining room listening and watching as though suspended in time, as my house was straining, rocking and rolling and I didn't know what to do. I remember unlocking the door and pushing it open. Then I ran to Alice's room and scooped her up out of her cot and ran outside.

Did you know that in a survival crisis, your bladder starts to work overtime. Everyone says this happened to them that day. I remember needing to go to the bathroom, but not wanting to leave the living room in case there was another one. But you no sooner go and your having to go again.

I remember the phone call from Rob. He sounded emotional. He said there were buildings down. I went to get my kids from school. Meredith was crying. The boys were relieved to see me. I remember telling Theodore's teacher, "my husband said there are buildings down." We came home and watched John Campbell for the rest of the day, fielding phone calls from friends and family, texts, and neighbours calling in.

Everytime there was an aftershock, one of my children dived under the bench. In the end, there were so many coming that they just stayed under there.

What has changed for me? How is my life different now to what it was a year ago? Sure, I'm living in a different part of New Zealand now, but it's not the obvious things that make the difference. It's the little things.

I think I am more aware of natural disasters. Something like this heightens your sensitivity to your environment and causes you to reasses every location on a human survival level.
Today has been an emotional day. Remembering the poignant moments of a year ago. Feeling sad. Feeling grateful. Telling those who are important to me that I love them. That's what something like this earthquake does. It makes you scared. It makes you feel vulnerable. It changes your life forever. But it makes your heart bigger too.


Heather L. said...

Thinking of you......

Cottage Tails said...

I thought of you today. But I just haven't been able to rewatch any of it - kept myself out of the media range. It was horrific watching it on telly a year ago and not being able to do anything. Something I don;t think many kiwis will ever forget. But to actually go through it oh my! (((HUGS to you all!)))
Love Leanne

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