Friday, February 19, 2016

Five years.


Yesterday I drove past a building being demolished and wondered to myself how they could still be pulling buildings down five years after the big earthquake 22 February 2011. Five years. Our lives before are a distant memory, like some other people lived them. There was a 5.9 last Sunday and this week has been marked by the usual regular shakes. I went to the Mall on Monday morning and the place was crawling with engineers.


It felt familiar, like an old coat which you put on. Oh yes, we have done this before, we know what it is about. I recognise the familiar sound of the house lurching and once again I sweep the broken china and rehang the pictures.  I feel pretty safe now. I mean all the buildings that were going to fall down, have fallen down or is still boarded up. And broken stuff is just stuff. We know how to do this. We've got it.


It is super unfortunate that we have had an upsurge in activity, the week that we mark the five year anniversary. Here's a picture depicting where the over 14000 earthquakes have been over five years. We live slap bang in that very dense bit in the middle of the photo. 

It's funny because sometimes you meet someone from another part of New Zealand and they ask you if you were affected by the earthquakes. I just can't imagine anyone whose lived in Christchurch in the last five years not being affected. Just think about living in a city where all of the infrastructure has to be rebuilt. It's a big deal.


Probably the biggest thing I learned in the last five years is that everyone has a breaking point. It doesn't matter how strong, how well adjusted, how well supported you are; eventually at some point everyone gets to the point where they throw their hands in the air and goes, ENOUGH ALREADY.

Breaking point is not pretty. It is down right ugly, it's messy. Sometimes it looks angry. Sometimes it looks sad. Sometimes it looks sick. Sometimes it looks like death.


When someone you love meets breaking point, you need to respect that. It's their thing, their line that they didn't know they had to draw. There is no point with platitudes at this time, because frankly they suck. What you need is a plan. You need to surround your person with love. You need to help them out. Do their chores. Ring their work and get them sick leave. You need to watch over them, feed them good food, get professional help and stick together through the hard times.


I've noticed that when people reach breaking point, that it really marks a changing point in their lives. You can't go back to who you were and it takes time to figure out what this means and how you can live with it. We have had five years, and lots of us have been through the breaking point and are now on the other side in our new normal. We are doing pretty good on the whole. And we are really good at looking out for each other.

Kia kaha Christchurch.
Here's to another five years.


7 comments:

  1. It's amazing how much can change in 5 years, and how much hasn't changed. Here's to a less stress-filled 5 years to come!

    ReplyDelete
  2. "I just can't imagine anyone whose lived in Christchurch in the last five years not being affected."

    We have this discussion at the CEISMIC archive quite often - someone will ask "is this [photo, document, whatever] earthquake related?", and my argument is always that if it happened in Christchurch in the past five years, it'll be earthquake-related in some way.

    I thought I was relatively unaffected by the earthquake (live in the west, no real damage, nobody I know killed or seriously injured), but after Sunday's earthquake I had my moment of "I can't do this any more", when for a few minutes I seriously contemplated moving out of Christchurch. But I won't - I have great hopes for this city, and I want to stick around to see what rises out of the rubble. Kia kaha indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your words have struck a chord with me on a personal level. I live in another country and my breaking points have been bought about by illness and stress, but your observations ring true in all situations. Breaking points are not pretty but those who love and care stick it out to see you through to the other side. It's a new normal but it's my normal now. Best of everything to you and your family and your new normal.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have only tornado activity in my world as I don't live near an active fault line. I do know how long it takes to come back from a tornado (especially an EF5) five years or more. They are a one time event, there aren't after-tornados. I can only imagine the damage. Even in places without the destruction of tornado, fire, earthquake (insert other disasters here) people reach their breaking points and have to figure out how to go on, how to "be" in the aftermath. Eventually most of us find a way on-thank goodness! When I heard about the latest round of earthquakes for you I thought "oh no, not again!"Christchurch will rise again! And it's still on my bucket list!"

    ReplyDelete
  5. love you Deb, spoken with eloquence and simplicity - full of wisdom xxx

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh Deb, what a wonderful post. It is so applicable not only for you in ChristChurch -- so far around the world, but for all of us who have friends (and ourselves) dealing with all kinds of stuff and eventually hit that LINE... Thanks for your words of wisdom.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh Deb, what a wonderful post. It is so applicable not only for you in ChristChurch -- so far around the world, but for all of us who have friends (and ourselves) dealing with all kinds of stuff and eventually hit that LINE... Thanks for your words of wisdom.

    ReplyDelete

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