– Dallington, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

I am very short sighted. I wear high index glasses that otherwise would be coke bottle bottoms, the old fashioned kind – 2 inches thick! I leave my glasses on my bedside table while I sleep.

On the morning of September 4th, I was at home in bed with my husband and my youngest child. When the quake struck, I grabbed my baby and made for the doorway.

My husband made for the room next door and grabbed our other two boys and the five of us huddled in the pitch black, in the three doorways at our end of the hall. The third is to the bathroom and I remember the noise of the slushing water in the toilet. We remained remarkably calm as the world crashed around us.

After the initial shaking stopped, I become aware of my lack of clothing and my lack of eyewear. Too scared to move in the dark and with crashed furniture blocking access back into our bedroom, my husband had the job of restoring access and retrieving my glasses.

We stayed in the dark with blankets for some time, maybe an hour.

One at a time, my husband and I went to check on neighbours and returned to eventually gather in our bed, all five of us, and await dawn.

My glasses stayed on for days. I slept fully clothed and wearing my glasses. I took two minute showers to reduce vulnerable naked time and reduce water use.

Time passed. February caused further damage to our home and life: we lost a dear friend. Eventually, my glasses made their way back onto the bedside table overnight. And I reverted to my lack of nightclothes.

June saw the house zoned Red and deemed a Total Loss. It is now in it’s death throes: we live with broken pipes that make our toilet unusable, our shower doesn’t drain properly, our dishwasher died. The stove has one element still in use and the oven requires instructions on safe use.

I may no longer be capable of multi-tasking or sustained deep thinking, but I have become incredibly proficient at getting on with my life. I take long baths, that take a long time to drain. My cell battery runs down and I run out of milk without it being a catastrophe.

Recently, we had another cluster of aftershocks.

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