February 22nd is a jumble, but three memories are very clear…
The American tourist who arrived in Christchurch that morning and spent three hours with us, most of the time talking, talking, talking. He would suddenly sit down for five minutes to read Richard Branson’s autobiography which he said he carried with him everywhere. He had been in the CBD with his friend but now didn’t know where he was.
The roar, the rumble, the men yelling for more help to ‘get in there and dig them out’, the man howling for his wife who was trapped under rubble, and the doctor who ran down the street to try and save her life, still with a packet of sandwiches in his hand.
Nearly three hours after it hit, when I was told my family were all safe, that’s when I felt I could take a breath; but all I wanted to do with that breath was scream at the world.