part of your world

I hope I can be forgiven for the narcissism inherent in this post. This is silly and melodramatic, but I feel like disaster has followed me lately.

I left Brisbane the day the flooding began in earnest. Cyclone Yasi hit my hometown a few weeks before I was due to go back, and affected my family. I was in Christchurch, disheartened by the earthquake damage, two weeks before the second quake.

It is the latter that has shocked me the most, though, and it is the latter disaster that has been the worst especially in terms of loss of life. It is a very strange feeling to recognise streets and half-destroyed buildings on the news, from a place where I spent less than twenty-four hours. It's even worse for those who actually live there, I'm sure.

Let me be clear that I am not saying that these incidents are worse than any of the hundred other natural disasters that have happened lately to places I've never been; rather, that my personal connection merely makes it a little easier for me to understand the magnitude of the problems as well as how lucky I have been to escape them so far. It's one thing to watch images of disaster unfold in front of you, but quite another to watch and know that you could have been there, but for the grace of God.

The obvious lesson to take here is the utter fragility of life. We are never safe. On any day, at any moment, the ground could shake, the heavens open, the river rise, or the wind blow everything away. Who knows how much time any of us has left?

In that spirit, let me say this: I love you, my LiveJournal friends and readers.

Comments

I love you too, my Live journal and Real Life (not that LJ is not real espcailly in times of crisis when it came be like a lifeline or sanity line) friend.

My mum said something similar today. We were driving out to Sumner, one of the most badly hit suburbs to help mum's friend clear out her house, because the roads are getting worse and worse (her friend Anna's parter Rob said you could actually see the cracks in the road getting wider, daily) and she thought that soon the road or the house would be condemned, and she wanted to salvage as much as possible. We were driving slowly over buckled roads and around holes in the pavement and she said it makes you realise how fragile life is. How you never know how one decision you make is going to affect you for the rest of your life, or end it. But how it doesn't pay to dwell on that. Appreciate life, sure, but you can't live in fear that your life is going to end at any moment.

Which is... going to be tough, in coming days. I have been multiple pictures of crushed buses and I have read profiles of people who were crushed inside those buses. I catch the bus every day. Into town. Once work starts up again I am either going to have to come to terms that I'm catching a bus down a street in which dozens of people died, some of them on a bus on this same route, or I am going to have to walk into town, finding a route that is safe, is nowhere near overhanging buildings or anything like that, and get up a couple of hours earlier in the morning. Right now I'm seriously considering getting up a couple of hours earlier and walking in, even though I know, logically, that by the time work is open again, the CBD is going to be a bit safer... and there isn't going to be anything left to fall on a bus. Still... I'm not looking forward to my first bus ride once public transport starts up again. I think it will be a ride full of fear. Doable, but I really don't want to.

But you can't live in fear, you know? Argh.

And I didn't read any narcissism in your post. I think the only way we can react to trauma is how it affects us personally.
That's terrible for your mum's friend. I guess there are parts of the city that might not be salvageable? That would be a really hard thing to deal with.

I thought about you on the bus, before I knew you were safe. You're not being paranoid to worry. I was thinking, what if you were working at 1pm again and on a late bus into the city at 12.51?! The thing is that nowhere is truly safe if it happens again, and I wouldn't blame you for wanting to walk for a while. Hopefully you'd feel better about taking the bus in the future, but... yeah. The stories about the buses were horrible to hear. It seems like pure chance: a bus on the road during the quake, passing a building that fell... it's not fair, really.
I think there are going to be parts that need to be completely demolished and rebuilt from scratch. There were streets on the drive to her house, some of which had been fenced off and others just had spraypaint over the entrance saying DANGER, NO ENTRY, 23/2/11. The house was right up on the hill, gorgeous view of everything, but the hill had started to collapse. The suburb on the hill over, where a couple of friends of ours live, had been totally evacuated in case the whole hill came down. I don't know if people are going to be able to live there again, I think it's way too early to tell.

I think the CBD is salvageable though. Not all of the buildings, but the ground it stands on. They're already talking about rebuilding the cathedral brick by brick, more as a symbol to Chch than a religious rebuild-the-church thing, which is nice.

And hey, they cancelled our census that was supposed to be going out next week. Historically they've only cancelled it twice before, in the depression and in WWII. Which... really puts things in perspective.

Also this picture here, of the building my cousin Jen was in at the time of the quake which is horrifying. She was on the 4th floor and got out okay. But look at it, in there! That is horrific! (She's okay though, she is unhurt and is not back at her parents place on the west coast, showering comfortabley)

I miss showers :(
It's going to take so long, isn't it? But it's absolutely worth doing. The beautiful city needs rebuilding.

Aww, poor Jen! At least she has the shower, though. I hope you get a shower soon.
How true. How true. I love you too. ♥
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Come here for a hug :) Life is fragile but it is also very tenacious. It seems as though they have not found any survivors under the rubble in Christchurch but when folk are pulled out alive after this type of disaster I can't help punching the air and crying, "Yesss!" for the strength and courage of the survivors and the dogged etermination of the searchers.

I love you too :)
*hug* Thanks, mum. :p They haven't found any survivors since Wednesday afternoon, which is really sad, but they're still looking and no one's giving up.
"Life changes fast. Life changes in an instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends." (Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking)

Yes, yes, yes, it is always frightening, and human connection is a wonderful thing to be grateful for. Hugs to you.
I love you too, my lovely- here and in the many, many moments when I neglect to pop in.

xXx

You were meant to blog. It has inspired me to start my own blog on barrie dentist