Skip to main content

The hour our lives changed, a year later

image credit here.

12.51pm.

The congregation falls silent, heads bowed in contemplation. All I hear is the breeze blowing through the rustling trees, and the happy chirping of birds, oblivious to the human drama unfolding below.

I am at the university quad, surrounded by my fellow students and university staff members, all gathered at the memorial service to commemorate the tragedy that struck at this very hour, on this very day, exactly a year ago. 

We were joined by the entire nation.

The entire nation had grinded to a halt, each man, woman and child dedicating two minutes of their lives in silence, in remembrance to those who had perished in the great Christchurch earthquake; in remembrance to those left behind to soldier on and rebuild their shattered lives; in remembrance of the ordeals endured by each and every Cantabrian, one aftershock at a time.

Silence.

I remember the walk to the main campus, a sweet sadness welling up deep inside me as I see traffic cones that still line the streets, filled with bunches of flowers, showing that love, beauty and hope could still exist in the constant reminders of our ruined city.

Silence.

I remember the months of displacement, doing nothing, feeling nothing, except for the terror of the next wave of aftershocks. Nerves frayed. No work - school destroyed. No study - university building destroyed. Nothing but the drive to get through the next one. And the next.

Silence.

I remember the rumbling that preceded the event, exactly a year ago. I remember the horror I felt when I was thrown about like a rag doll, totally at the mercy of the violent forces of Nature, and totally reliant on the Mercy of God. I remember the shock on the faces of the people I saw on the streets, not being able to comprehend the enormity and scale of the devastation they faced before them. I remember the people trapped in the buildings. I remember the souls who lost their lives. I remember my beloved city in ruins.

I am brought back to the present as the two minutes of silence ends.

I remember that I am still here.

I thank God.

I make my way into the dispersing crowd, and leave the university grounds.

_____________________________________________________________
* Part of my experience on 22 Feb 2011 can be seen here.

Comments

Cat-from-Sydney said…
Uncle A,
We visited Christchurch back in 2008 and to this day we still remember the beautiful city.....I can't imagine them being gone. But life goes on and we must soldier on. I have always wondered if your studies would have been affected. Good luck, sir. purrr....meow!
Hey Cat & Ange,

It's rally nice nice to hear from you guys again :)
Yeah, we soldier on. A year on, it's gotten back to being almost normal again. Almost.

Popular posts from this blog

Forgiveness

How does one forgive someone who has done them and their loved ones so much wrong?

This is a question that I struggle with, and have always struggled with for a long time. 
How does one push past the pain and suffering that a person had willingly caused, worse yet, caused to someone that they loved. We stand at the sidelines, and feel ourselves slighted, yet the pain we feel is minuscule, compared to the earth-shattering hurt our loved one experiences. Yet we are powerless, drowning in a helplessness, grasping for any lifeline that can pull ourselves out from the deep. 
How can we let go when hatred is all we know. A hatred that festered from seeds of dislike. This poison that we feed ourselves. Yet it is all we know. 
How does one tell oneself to let go?
If a person murders your son, and returns a month later, saying he is genuinely sorry; what would you do? He comes in and says he will pay for the cleaning bill, to wipe the blood stains off the floor, and to send the carpet for dry…

The End

I am in a hotel room.

It is unclear who else is in the room. It must be my family. But I am uncertain. I know I am in the room with people I love.

The hotel room is in a building that towers above ground level, and we can see all the houses below.

I am in Hawaii I think. How I know that I do not know. All I know is that we are beside the ocean.

I feel unsettled as I look out the window. Something is compelling me to look outside the window. It is getting dark. But I know by right it should not be dark. It is midday. And then I see it.

In front of me a huge storm cloud is gathering. But I start to quiver because it looks like no ordinary storm. The clouds are pitch black. Black as death. My eyes follow their shape to where they originate. I gasp.

I see a gigantic water spout, a tornado in the ocean, funnelling its energy to the black cloud. The water spout is also pitch black. Rain now pours uncontrollably. It is a hurricane at its full blast, but not just that. It is much, much more.

My first fast food experience ever

Growing up in the UK in the late 70s and 80s, it was almost impossible to get fast food that was halal. Definitely not like what it is today.

Back in the day, we lived in many different places when I was growing up, but I consider Bath to be my where I struck my roots.

As a kid you don’t really remember many things that were not within your immediate scope of experience. Everything was taken care of by your parents, and that is something I have go to remember again with my own children. Sometimes I expect them to be aware more of what is going on around them, but when I remember my own childhood, all we knew was we did what our parents told us, moved where they moved, went where they went etc.

Anyway, I’m rambling.

Back to what I was saying, It was literally impossible to get fast food, and all we could do was just imagine how the burgers would taste. Fries or chips was not too much of an issue because we were able to eat Fish and Chips, especially from Evans in the middle of town af…