Friday, 25 February 2011

How my parent's are 'fearing'

Thanks to Net, who asked about my parents and how they are fearing in Christchurch. It was a great Freudian Slip. I was thinking yesterday that if we could have a global image of fear and grieving there would be hotspots in Christchurch, Yemen and Libiya.

My parents are OK. My mum had an adventure she'd rather have done without.
She volunteers in an op shop that was hit fairly hard with the quake. All I know is that the window imploded right where she normally sits. They got out onto the street and stood and watched the minister's church opposite disintegrate.

I probably shouldn't repeat this, because there are a million and one better stories to tell of selflessness. But the minister was most anxious about his cat and used his mobile phone to find out if it had survived. When he finished mum asked if she could use it to call Dad to find out if he was OK.
His response. 'No, it's a credit phone.'

Mum tried to drive home but soon realised that this wasn't going to happen and she was safer walking. She struggled through the liquifaction, sometimes unable to find the bottom she'd have to haul herself back out. It's a long way home.

Dad was OK, the house a little less so. Doors no longer close, a two metre long five row stretch of bricks fell away. TV's are smashed, the typical mess we're seeing on TV. But nothing compared to many of their friends.

Mum told me today of one friend who lost her husband last year and then sustained a lot of damage to her house in the first quake. Now she has a bundle of clothes and no house. All she wants is her husband.

It's hard to watch it on TV. I see the street names from my childhood. Years ago I climbed to the top of the cathedral just when they gave the bells a work out and leant back on the swaying spire and waited for it to crumble. I've stayed at the YMCA, have a wonderful pair of ampersands I bought at Ballantynes. It seems, at such a distance so unreal. But talking to mum, no less unreal her end either.

I've heard them say on TV, 'earthquakes are a fact of life for New Zealander's' as though they are a daily occurance. Nothing like this has ever happened. Newly demolished 1860s churches testify to this.

I can only recall about five earthquakes and I lived there till I was twenty three. The most remarkable one was leaning on a sliding door eating lunch with my family. I must have been nine or ten. The door began to rattle. I turned around to tell my bloody brothers off, no one there. I turned back to see them riding the wild barbeque table over the patio. It was the kind of thing where you went 'whoa!' and laughed over.

Nothing like watching some huge fellow throwing sandstone blocks off someone trapped beneath. Nor watch the agony of those waiting.

As for the minister. I've advised mum to tell him that it's a credit line to God he's got too and he's used his up.


brendie said...

good she is "ok". my cousin was in one of the collapsed buildings, saw a woman and child perish, freaked out, got out and took a taxi to picton, was in shock just wanted to get as far away as possible at any cost....$900. seems a bit mean of the minister but under shock we can do and say things without thinking.

Jan Morrison said...

Let's hope that your mum's minister was having a big brainless moment caused by stress and this isn't how he normally acts!
Glad you said what you did about this not being normal. Why, I wonder, does the press seem to focus on this? A friend of mine who is 90 yrs. said to me yesterday that he didn't know why people lived there. Once I got over the stupidity of his comment I answered that perhaps if one is born somewhere and likes it and has family and obligations and work well...? I am an airforce brat so never stuck so close to one place until I moved to Nova Scotia - we have hurricaines and ice storms and low employment and no spring BUT I love it here - my kids, grandkids and work is here. Jeesh. All love to your mum and dad and I will continue to do tonglen for all those afflicted. What a bizarre spinning world, neh?

Anonymous said...

I wondered about your Mum and Dad, so glad to hear they are all right. I live on Vancouver Island, have done most of my life, also on the so-called "ring of fire", and we've had our share of small quakes. We live in constant expectation of experiencing the "big" one - annual earthquake drills in school and at work, special shoring up of designated shelter buildings, etc...and lots of pleas from the authorities to everyone to have emergency supplies in a safe place for the event. Yet, for the most part, people ignore all this, and carry on with ordinary living. This is a lovely place to live, relatively mild climate (I've heard it's not unlike southern NZ), forest, ocean, nice farmland, a nice sized city, etc. I think everywhere you live there is some dire threat - drought, cyclones, hurricanes, poisonous snakes, aggressive wildlife, you name it. Like Jan, I think we weigh the risks of the place against a host of other factors in deciding where home should be...and frankly, the track record on seriously damaging earthquakes in NZ and here in BC has been relatively minimal (until now)... I'm so impressed with the way the Christchurch people are coping with the disaster, and we'll praying for their continuing needs and in thanks for your parents. Dunno about your mum's minister - hope it was just shock. Did he maybe mean that his payment plan would only let him call home?

Cheers, Dawn in BC

Linda Cockburn said...

Just spoke to my brother who just drove up from Timuka to visit mum and dad with food and a porta-potty. People have made signs out their front gates saying 'refuge' for homeless people to come in and have a place to stay. Also the large number of cars with wheelbarrows strapped to their roof driving into Christchurch to help with the clean up.

Christchurch is fairly new to multi-culturalism and struggles with it. But it seems that this event has broken the barriers and it's hand to hand, side by side.

The minister was a bad example when there are so many more out their of selflessness and heroism.

Also forgot to mention how the residents are feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for the overseas assistance they're getting. Mum's terrified that 'those lovely people might get hurt' while they're here. It was touching to see the kiwi's applauding them as they walked into the CHCH airport.

Spotted this blog this morning with images of the inside of the cathedral and of people and places in the CBD from their trip to Christchurch a couple of months ago. Well worth a read.

Shelley said...

No matter where you live nature can be brutal.

I live in Toowoomba. No way did I ever think that a city on top of a hill could be flooded so horrifically.

Glad to hear your family is safe. :)

Linda Cockburn said...

Hi Shelley,
That was the first thing I said. But... how can? Toowoomba?
I hope things are going back to some normality for you all up there. Though I suspect when nature throw something like that at you you're not so trusting after that.

Our small town just held a Fun Day and raised $10,200 for the QLD Flood Appeal on the 20th - an amazing amount considering it rained and howled.

We've all been thinking of you.

And Brendie, my heart goes out to your cousin.

meadow8 said...

Hi Linda,Where are you? We miss you, come back soon,please. Wendy