Friday, March 18, 2011

To Kiwis outside Christchurch

Here is what I wrote for my friend, who had been asked to comment on Christchurch at their work thing today in Wellington

Today is a memorial day for those that died and for our city. Please tomorrow and the day after, remember the living in Christchurch.
For many, I think this day has come too soon, not all the dead have been named, not all funerals held, schools are barely up and running, many businesses are still working out their future - Heck we can't even get into the middle of our city.
Personally, I am a bit scared of memorial day, probably like many here, I haven't thought much about the grief of this quake. Life has been too busy doing basics.
I am worried that if I take the time out on this day everything that has happened will hit me like an unwanted aftershock - The people I no longer will see, the change in our business, the terrible damage to the city, the changes to our own house. At some stage, I am going to have face these new realities.
After today's service - as the media moves on, Christchurch will still be here just starting to grieve; the elderly couple realizing they may not live long enough to see the city rebuilt, the kids missing classmates who have permanently left town, without getting a chance to say goodbye. People dealing with images in their heads who only say of February 22nd "I saw some things…..".
Everyday I hear of new situations that make my heart sad.
I think we are all still coming to grips with what has happened.
We are still having aftershocks that bring back memories of September 4th or February 22nd, depending on their shake.
We are still working out how our lives go from here.
Please remember us.


Raewyn said...

Your post has moved me to tears this morning. We will certainly be remembering the living for a very long time while we grieve along side of you and wait & watch the phoenix rise from the ashes.

Robin Sutton said...


Thanks for writing this... and to add to this, here are a few words I wrote yesterday:

It was the stories that mattered. And in the telling and retelling of these stories there wasn’t much exaggeration; there was no need, for the tales were already horrific enough. Eventually people would try to tuck their stories away in places that many hoped would never be rediscovered, because every story carried with it cruel marks that the narrator would bear for the remainder of his days; scars that minute by minute were shaping a new way of being, a new way of relating. But for now these stories needed telling and retelling, for it was in their telling that their narrators sought their healing.
In years gone by the opening gambit of conversations between strangers often involved less than subtle interrogations on which school the listener had attended, but in years to come the definitive question would be ‘And where were you when the big one hit?” And this would be enough to bring back those memories that some sought to lose, while others trotted out their version of events like a scar to be displayed, a badge of honour, a rite of passage into society. The closer the call, the taller some tellers could stand. Other tellers would shrink even further into their own closed world, feeling the pain of reliving the horror.

Kind regards
PS Thanks again for your company for coffee the other day too.. enjoyed it!!!

Fiona S said...

I like what you wrote Robin - I think it is very true. I think I read somewhere of people getting irate about others still talking earthquake stories but I agree it is a healing thing to share. :)
The coffee and company was most excellent!

5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.