Today as I drove home from Uni I noticed a new building going up
and it looked kinda attractive against the winter trees.
I could barely remember what was on the spot previously,
there are so many bare spots, it is hard to keep track of what was where.
It's weird but just noticing the building and thinking that it looked ok
somehow started a stream of thoughts leaking out in my head.
I drove home on autopilot while memories poured into my mind
one after another in no order. Memories like...
Washing the family's clothes in a baby bath for weeks,
the tub of water for handwashing outside the back door,
the difficulty keeping anything clean and sanitary.
James, standing on the footpath saying, I'm not leaving my dad.
I remember going to the supermarket to buy a bucket,
and filling it with chocolate. I don't know which we needed more.
I remembered taking the children for a walk, and feeling brave enough to take them across the river,
I remember we stopped for ages and watched them take a chimney down at the school.
I remember liquifaction everywhere, and then dust.
I remember Reuben telling me to wear a face mask when I went out.
I remember buying Annie a pair of lace up shoes to wear.
They were sparkly pink. We both hated them.
But the broken glass kept coming out from under the furniture for weeks
so she had to wear them. She was just a baby really.
I remember queuing at the well for drinking water for months and months.
I remember going to church and knowing that none of us had had a shower for days.
I remember going somewhere where it was safe but where we were not understood,
it turned out to be easier to be with people who did and not be so safe.
I remember taking photos of quilts on fences, so many fences.
I didn't realise at the time that once the fences were gone, the buildings would be too.
I remember wanting things to go back to normal.
I remember holes in the ground and driving slowly around them.
I remember sitting on the makeshift toilet in our garden and hearing a rat in the chicken run.
I remember trying to make meals for the family from what was in the pantry.
All of the contents of the freezer had gone of course.
The power stayed mostly one once it was on,
but the water took a long long time.
I remember always having a door open so we could run out in an aftershock.
I remember lying in bed during the aftershocks and checking twitter,
feeling comforted by the fact I wasn't the only one frightened.
I remember laughing at aftershocks, we called them wobbles.
Annie still calls them wobbles.
I remember taking all the pictures off the walls so that they wouldn't hit us when they fell.
I remember that so much stuff broke and kept on breaking,
but the thing that made me sad was when my crown lynn swan broke,
and then the replacement broke too.
So many memories. It's our past. It's the stories we will tell our children.
It's hard to pack them away tidily and make sense of them
when there is no sense to them really.
Maybe we will always be a little bit cracked ourselves,
and that's ok. Because not many people live through what we have,
there's no rule book for disaster really.