When you grow up in a city and leave it, you carry a piece of it with you. Whenever it’s mentioned, whenever you hear from friends or family there, one particular heartstring is tugged, still reserved for that place and connected to those memories.
This is why, 2 years after a 6.3 earthquake that killed 185 people and literally brought the city down in a cloud of dust .. you grieve too. As the world around you carries on with a normal Friday, you look at everything with different eyes again.
This is not a comparison of one grief against another. This is a time to reflect on your experience, your thoughts, your feelings, your blessings and your next moves. For some people, it’s still a time of suffering. For some people, it’s a time of steeled determination. For others, it’s even a time of love.
For me, it’s a reminder of what needs to be done in my new place of residence. It’s a reminder that we’re still so very complacent when it comes to natural disasters. It’s a gentle nudge to write that blog post about community resilience and to see if some actual, real improvements can be made in our communities, by our communities. It’s a reminder to not let that idea slip away, distracted by everyday life.
Because even though I grew up with earthquake drills and small shakes & messages about survival kits … it didn’t seem real until it happened. There was no warning that buildings would crumble during a normal lunch hour. There was no warning that the disaster event would knock out sewerage and water for MONTHS, not days or weeks. There was no warning that the liquifaction process we’d studied in science would render so may parts of the city unlivable for the remaining future. But did we learn?
I think Brisbane & Queensland could learn a lot from the resilience of the communities of Christchurch and the surrounding areas. Their long-term survival and rebuilding stories need to be told, need to be used as a lesson, need to be actioned and implemented. For they are one of the most resilient, modern societies that I know.
I’m thinking of those gathered at the memorial today. I’m thinking of family & friends who survived and stayed, their nerves shattered. I’m thinking of the future of the city and how it may look.
Today, I’m thinking of Christchurch, with love.