Well - we made it! It is February 22nd 2012. One year ago the Earth underneath Christchurch unleashed its energy yet again. This time with fatal consequences.
I was watching from Melbourne. At 11.01am Australia time I received a text from my Daughter Livvy. "Mum. We're having another big earthquake". This text arrived within 10 minutes of the 6.3M After Shock. Liv had sent it straight away.
I had just arrived at the hotel I was staying at but as my room wasn't ready I went up to the room of Gayle Taylor - another Christchurch Director - to get changed into my Director Suit for the start of our conference in the afternoon. As Gayle opened the door we said big hello's and then my phone buzzed. I read the text aloud and we all went straight to the TV - after 2 minutes Channel 9 switched to Live coverage of what was unfolding in Christchurch and there was the Cathedral - Broken. How could that be? I'd just left and everything was fine. Ironically, at this stage, I knew more than most people in Christchurch about how bad it actually was.
I knew what I had to do - I apologised to my consultant Carolyn and to Gayle and said "I'm sorry but I'm going home". I got on the phone straight away and Air New Zealand put me on a flight to Christchurch leaving at 5pm.
It was the most terrible feeling. I wanted to get to my children and husband. I wanted to know that they were alright. I wanted to get straight to school and I couldn't. I felt so far away.
A lot of people have said to me how lucky I was that I wasn't here. I didn't and I still don't feel lucky. I have never wanted to be closer to my family than that moment. It was the most terrible feeling. It remains the worst experience of my life. And to that end I do feel lucky - lucky and blessed that this is the worst experience I have ever had and that all my family were and are safe. My heart goes out to all who lost a special someone on this day last year. You may have read in an earlier blogpost of mine of how close we came to losing one of our own. And my niece Jenny blogged about her sister last night http://mendandmakenew.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/reflecting-on-2222011.html
Gayle Taylor's sister Bev was badly hurt at the Tasty Tucker in Sydenham and her rehabilitation will be long and slow. She will spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. But her family are grateful she is alive.
Even though I didn't experience the actual physical violence of the 6.3M Shock on February 22nd, I still had exactly the same adrenaline rush that day, that I had experienced on September 4th 2010. This adrenaline got me to the train station, on foot, no taxi's available that lunch hour! From the train to the airport where our plane unable to land in Christchurch, was diverted to Wellington. I met the lovely Robyn and her cousin trying to get back to Christchurch too and we met early in the morning at the Ferry terminal where we stuck together and my Hero Glenn came and picked us up in Picton and drove us home to Christchurch.
I cannot describe the feelings of relief when we arrived at mt Brother Simon's home and there were all my children and my Mum. Safe and Sound. Lucky me - Home at last. And this is where I'm staying. Christchurch - It may be broken but our heart is still beating.
Kia Kaha Christchurch. - Our year of mourning is over - Time to step forward and embrace our exciting future xx