Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The heart expands when it is broken [four years]

Four years ago the city where I live was hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.
I remember leaping out of bed to stand in the doorway,
kicking open the door to my sons room
and screaming at him to get out of bed.

I remember that David held our baby, Annie in his arms
as the wine bottles from the rack shot across the floor;
and I remember the incredible noise of the whole house being shaken.

I have never been so frightened, before or since.
I thought we were going to die.
I thought the house was going to fall on us.

In the last four years I have learned that everybody has a breaking point,
it is just that some people get there sooner.

I have learned to respect this and to make allowances for someone
who is not coping, instead of judging them as I may have in the past.

Our son Reuben met his breaking point in the June of 2011,
and he suffers to this day as a result of this.
He lives his life courageously despite of his fears.

I have learned that when faced with death,
some find amazing courage within themselves,
and take control of their lives in ways they didn't before.

It is almost like facing death, gives them the courage to live.

My daughter Chrissy is one of those.
As she walked home on 22 February 2011 through the ruins of the city,
she made decisions about her future life, 
about what she wanted to achieve and made plans for how she was going to do that.

I could not be more proud.

There's a lot of sky in the centre of our city.
There's a lot of empty spaces where buildings should be,
acres and acres of empty space.

There's a lot of buildings still coming down,
like these two in this picture. The wrap on the building on the left
is to contain asbestos.

There's still more buildings with decisions being argued over their fate.
Like this building, with windows boarded up which may or may not be saved.

There are great plans for Christchurch,
and there are definitely signs that the rebuild has begun.
There are some funky new buildings going up.

But it's four years people!

Four years.

That's a long long time to be waiting.

They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger,
but I found these words today and I love them.
"Your heart expands when it is broken"
so true. So very true. Something to hang onto as we remember. Four years.

Time heals.
Mountain winds sound exactly like ocean waves.
You are worth everything now.
Walls can be destroyed.
The sun always rises (and is always beautiful).
Children know the answers.
There is music in everything.
Logic doesn't produce magic.Somewhere, somebody loves you.
You don't need to choose mediocre when fire exists.
The moon orchestrates our nights and tides.
Trees can grow through rock.
Your heart expands when it's broken.
You should do it now.


  1. Ah Deb, I can only imagine how hard the past four years have been. I found your blog just after the quake, actually I was looking for information on Christchurch as you seem to have been lost in the aftermath of the quake in Japan. I was then and am now inspired by your courage and your strength. Staying through the thousands of aftershocks and all the tears of your children, family and friends. (And all of your own tears.) Through all the changes, all the heartbreak you have just kept on, doing the best you could and making beautiful things. I can only hope that things will get better with each day and that someday Christchurch and you, dear Deb, will find the "new normal" and not be constantly reminded of the quake. (I can also only hope that faced with a catastrophic event I would have even a part of your strength.) Blessed Be.

  2. Deb, I read this and I ache. I ache for your boy. I ache for you and your daughter trying to build something out of the rubble. You show such courage and grace. You are an inspiration.

  3. It's amazing to think 4 years have gone Deb. The past 4 years have certainly affected the people of Christchurch in so many ways, but the good thing is that so many of us are still living here. I have come to the conclusion that I can't think of the length of time it is going to take to restore our city as it is too long to imagine. I am better focusing on what I can do for our family as its quicker and achieveable, also I am not relying on anyone else. Small steps feel good.

  4. as always you have said all you feel with eloquence and grace. You have captured hope and heartache and you have written with honesty. You are a shining light, my beautiful friend xxx

  5. Isn't it odd how it is adversity that makes us grow?
    You and your family have come a long way in the last four years, Deb, and whilst I wish you hadn't had to suffer this, it has been quite a ride just tagging along on your blog.

  6. I find your posts very moving, you write so well, your thoughts and feelings. So hard to believe four years has passed with so many still in limbo.

  7. I love how you capture the situation here so well.
    This year has been my breaking point. Baby steps.
    I wonder where we will be in another four years

  8. I heart this. That's all for now. Oh, but also, I heart you.

  9. Beautifully said... I cannot pretend to imagine what you and your family have gone through, but I admire you for sure!

  10. Such a long time ago, and yet only yesterday too. I remember the quakes and thinking of you from so far away. Very scary indeed.

    Keeping taking care.

  11. Wow this is beautiful, amazing, goosebump-inducing and heart wrenching. That POEM!
    I stand in awe of the brave people of Christchurch who are still living and waiting and hoping and working for their beloved city to rise again from the rubble (and the empty spaces).
    Love you Deb. Hugs from me (who never met Christchurch before she was broken and is so sad about that).

  12. Big hugs to you, and everyone down there - keep expanding (without breaking too much!) xxx


Thanks so much for dropping by. I love to hear from you and I want you to know that I really appreciate each comment!!