Sunday, 22 February 2015

Four Years On.........

Today it is four years since the day that Christchurch and Cantabrians were changed forever.  It is so hard to believe that it is 1461 days since that horrific day that not one of us will ever forget. In many ways it feels like yesterday......and in others it seems like a lifetime ago. The scars are so deep and Cantabrians are a changed people. It is impossible to go through such tragedy and be untouched by it.

Having said that, I feel like a fraud writing this.  I feel like I don't have the right to comment. You see, I know that I'm one of the lucky ones...the very lucky ones. I didn't lose any whanau or close friends, none of us suffered horrendous injuries that changed the path of our lives and force us to live with daily pain, we didn't lose our home and our house's structural damage has now been fixed. We didn't lose jobs or equity in our home or business.

My heart goes out to all those whose lives have been changed those who have lost, arohanui.

Today, as in previous years we marked the anniversary by attending the River of Flowers. We bought flowers for Christchurch, red of course, and stood on the banks of the Avon River. As a family we were quiet and still for a minute at 12.51 before a lone piper played Amazing Grace. The tears flowed as I suspect they will for many years to come. Yes, I am one of the lucky ones but the hurt and sorrow I feel for Christchurch and our people remains raw.
I still find it hard to accept that so many in this city are suffering so much after all this time. I still struggle to come to terms with all that we've lost. The shops where my mother took me to buy school shoes and a brownie uniform as a child, the tea rooms where my grandparents took me for lime milkshakes, the Town Hall where I sang in numerous music festivals and attended my first rock concert, the City Mall where we used to sit on Friday nights as fourth formers outside HMV in our kungfu shoes, every single bar and nightclub my friends and I frequented as uni students, the restaurant and movie theatre my husband took me to on our first date, the church where we were married, the hospital where my son was born, the list goes on and on......the special places that mark the passing of my life are gone; only rubble, road cones or bare land remains.

But these are only buildings; though it is sad, I can accept their demise. What is harder to accept is the loss of innocence and the new found realisation that life can be taken from us at any time. I feel such anger at the quakes and I hate that I am now so desperately frightened of Mother Nature's ferocious power. Like many Cantabrians, when we suffer aftershocks it takes me a long, long time to recover. My heart races, my mouth is dry and my mind jumps straight away to mentally locate my children. It is hard not to think back to that horrific day at school and not hear the screams of 250 terrified children or picture their petrified faces. I hate that Christchurch people now live with a fear in their hearts that is so hard to shake.

And yet, today I look forward with hope. I believe strongly that there will be a better future for our city. I love the creativity that is such a part of the new normal in Christchurch. I love that we are more grateful and able to find joy in the little things. I see changes in Christchurch's children and feel proud of them for their resilience and compassion for others. This generation of children will be a force to be reckoned with, of that I am sure.

Today is a tough day; tomorrow will be better.


  1. Bridget, as someone who was not here at the time but now resides in Christchurch I cannot but help feel for all of you that went through that day. I can't possibly imagine it and there are times while at work I can't imagine how teachers coped and dealt with the children as many would have been happily playing outside. Even four years on there is so much to do and people who have yet to move into new homes. But since we have been here (2 years now) we have also witnessed how much Christchurch has changed and how it is building itself back up again. I know when we moved here (husbands job), people thought we were mad wanting to be here but I like the fact he is helping to rebuild Christchurch and even though I originate from the North Island I love it down here.

    1. Yay Ruth thank you! Do you know how my heart sings every time someone who has moved here tells me how much they love it. My husband is also a North Islander(Born in Auck, raised in Welly) and he loves it too. So pleased you are happy here.
      Yep, that day was #$%, no other word for it. Putting on such a brave face for the sake of the children was tough especially for teachers who couldn't reach their families. One of our teachers had a husband stuck in the Forsyth Barr and another had gone into town to pick up a MagiMix in her lunchhour and saw her new car get completely flattened. I know that many who were in the city are haunted by what they saw- I just can't imagine. Problem is that as you know it then continued for months and months and the June earthquakes were just about the straw that broke the camel's back for many Chch people. Tough times.

      But you've made me smile with your lovely comment. Thank you!

  2. Great post Bridget. Thank you. I couldn't bring myself to the river this year . You are right, in many ways this is still as raw as four years ago - even for those of us that are the lucky ones.