We are now at day-5 following our last massive earthquake. Christchurch, up until 6 months ago, had not ever had a significant quake. Now it has!
My reaction has been mixed, up and down. When it struck, I was in clinic, with a patient (a little 8-month old boy with cow’s milk allergy). His mum scoped him up in her arms and dropped to the floor, protecting him. It dawned on me that this was a BIG shake, and so ducked under my desk. The violence of this shaking, of this 6.3 magnitude quake, lasted for about 15 seconds. I finished our consultation and escorted the shaken mum to reception and got her into her car.
Initial calm. At that moment in time I had no idea how bad this earthquake had been – our clinic had not been too damaged – fallen books, cascading glass and crockery. But no injury.
Then felt panic. Where was Chris, my wife - was she safe? The mobile network was patchy, but when we spoke she told me she was unharmed: she was driving and thought that a bomb had gone off and blown out all of her tyres. The roads were broken, blocked and gridlocked – she took 2 hours to crawl home in the traffic.
Gratitude. A sense of “so-wonderful-to-be-alive”. That health and family is the only treasure we have. Broken buildings can be fixed. Broken bodies need graves. A sense of enjoy the moment with the people we love.
Grief. For hundreds dead and even more seriously injured – being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Loved ones wrenched from their families. Tragic. Tears well up from time to time – tears wanting to flow freely, but held back as this cannot-be-happening-to-us.
A feeling of together. All of us Christchurch citizens have this shared experience, which makes us closer: closer in adversity. And well-wishes from phone, email, facebook and networks connect us to you all. Thank you all for sending much-needed blessings and love.
Inertia. My brain has slowed down and my plans of re-editing a book this weekend are out-the-window! Why the hurry? Enjoy the beach, the sunshine, and the sense of being-alive. Cherish my wife and family. Focus on the now.
Wanting to help. Everyone is helping everyone else. A huge combined effort to restore our health, community and city. We are safe and well, but there are thousands who are not. We are running our clinic next week, business as usual.
We have cleaned up much of the quake-mess. We are so grateful for your thoughts.
Cheers Rodney & Chris