I’ve struggled with what I will write today. Five years on from the February 22 earthquake that killed 185 people and broke my city beyond recognition. Each year I’ve posted words on how I’ve felt.
Facebook memories – that annoying little pop up – was full of reminders. I decided not to look at them.
You see, I’ve learned over the years you can’t dwell on the past. It’s not healthy. At some point you have to start looking forward and moving on. I appreciate that for many, who lost loved ones, that’s not easy. I appreciate for those still fighting to get home repairs, that’s not easy. However for me, I’m ready to move on. I think I moved on some time ago. That sounds heartless. I’m not. I still well up at the stories. I still feel empathy for those who are struggling. At our minute’s silence at work today, I had goosebumps and my eyes were a little wet. I will never forget – images are easy to bring to mind. Everyone has their “where were you at 12.51” story. I can remember the details of that day so clearly. If you ask, I will tell you. On the whole, however, I’m just in a place where I can move on.
I’m not complacent. We had another 5.7M shake just the other week. I know I live in a country where it shakes, well, pretty much anywhere. I didn’t think Christchurch was prone to too much shaking. We’d had a few quakes in the 90s – just little ones, 4s. Wellington was always going to get the big one. Wellington will probably still get the big one. I hope for everyone’s sake it’s still centuries from happening.
But, as I said in previous Feb 22 quake memories, I’ve been lucky. I was in a safe building (albeit in the middle of chaos in town), I didn’t lose anyone I personally knew and my home wasn’t too badly scathed in the bigger scheme of things. I had good friends and support from my family.
Five years on I get excited about the city’s potential. It’s still a good 10 years away to being close to rebuilt. 15 more probably likely. There are things happening though. The people who have committed to Christchurch are passionate about the city and lots of great things are emerging. We have a new creative side to the city and when we have all our new buildings it will be much, much safer than the rest of the country.
So… I’ve rambled a bit… all in all I’m ready for the future. I will never forget and I will always be grateful for my luck and offer a prayer for those who have gone and are still going through so much hurt, sorrow and loss. I still grieve for my city, but to me it’s not lost. It’s only just beginning.