Daddy’s Home

Exhausted both physically and emotionally from a long, horror-filled night in the city centre. Boots caked in dust, clothes reeking of smoke and face streaked with dirt, I don’t want to think about where he has been and what he has seen.

September was scary. A long, rolling rumble that went on for an eternity. Old buildings fell but much of our earthquake-proofed city stood up well in the face of a 7.1 magnitude quake. How thankful we were that everyone was in bed.  How overjoyed that no-one was even seriously hurt. How smug about our ability to survive. They breed ’em tough in Canterbury. We can get through anything.

How wrong we were. A smaller earthquake but so very quick and violent. Mere seconds were all it took to destroy some of the oldest and most-loved buildings in the city. Even newer, stronger high-rises pancaked to the ground in an instant. And so many people, out enjoying their lunch break, trapped under falling verandahs and facades and piles and piles of rubble.

In September there was amazement and relief and story after miraculous story of survival. In February there is only shock and grief and tragedy at every street corner. The face of the city is changed forever and what we believe about who we are and what we can cope with has been shaken to the core.  Press reporter Vicki Anderson writes “I stood on the edge of the abyss and peered into the darkness today.” Although the politicians talk about recovery, it seems an impossibilty. How do we even begin to move on from this?


Filed under Earthquake, Family

5 responses to “Daddy’s Home

  1. canary

    I felt a bit the same way after your September quake, since my son lives in San Francisco. I thought that if the big one hit he would be okay since you all did so well in that 7.1. Modern cities and structures should get through just fine, I thought. But numbers are pretty arbitrary, and all these factors like distance, depth, duration and so forth make every situation unique. Plus the cumulative effect of so many earthquakes and aftershocks had to take their toll on even the well-built structures.

    But you are tough. Seeing an ordinary guy toss a chunk of cement half his size like it was a piece of styrofoam trying to get to someone in a crushed car shows incredible toughness and resolve and compassion. If those dirty boots could talk… I hope plenty of help is on the way from your friends around the world, including here in the US. I know it can never be quite enough to get completely back to normal.

    I am so struck by how you changed the name of your blog before all this. I hope you can find Paradise again.

  2. So relieved to hear you are OK – so sorry for everything you have suffered and will continue to suffer.

  3. Deb

    I think our whole country is in shock and mourning today, along with a profound sense of disbelief. Many of us just went through the motions at work today, still not believing that this awful tragedy had happened. September was terrible enough…but as more news comes to light and more tales are told, it just seems so surreal.

    Kia kaha Pauline. My thoughts are with you, Andrew, the kids and your fellow Cantabrians.

  4. Juanita

    When I heard the news about the earthquake from half way around the world, I thought of your blog and the wonderful talent of writing that you have to share a bit of you, your family and where you live with the world. I prayed that you and your loved ones would be safe and I am grateful, as I am sure so many are, to see that it is so. Take care and know that there are many thoughts about, and prayers spoken, for your lovely part of the world.

  5. Love and prayers to you all. It is just so devastating, and will be such a long haul to pull yourselves back from this. But we are all with you if only in spirit. Wishing you all the very best.

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