– Kilmore Street, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

It was just another day in the contact centre. I worked on Kilmore Street up on the 5th Floor, opposite the Town Hall and next door to the Convention Centre. I went on lunch at 12:30pm.

I had planned to go to Cashel Mall on my lunch break but for some reason changed my mind. I had brought lunch with me that day and it needed to be cooked so figured by the time I’d cooked and eaten it that I would be rushing…

I stayed in my building instead. And looking back at the devastation that hit Cashel Mall on that fateful day. I am so glad that I did. My colleague and friend lost one of her dear friends in Cashell Mall that day. And my heart goes out to him and his family. I met him once at a BBQ and he was lovely.

I was standing in the kitchen with 4 or 5 other colleagues when the earthquake hit. I was thrown backwards and under the breakfast bar. I clung tightly to the breakfast bar as the intensity grew and grew. It felt like no other earthquake I’d felt. It shook so fiercely I was literally pinned to the spot. I told my Mum I loved her in my head. I actually said to myself “This is it”. My heart was pumping with adrenalin. I could hear screams, and the loud crashes of plates as they flew out of the cupboards. The sound of the whole building shaking beneath my feet was huge. My knee was burning as I knelt in somebody’s freshly made instant noodles. I didn’t seem to care I was in boiling water. I didn’t feel that pain until later.

It stopped. I looked at my colleagues, saw they were ok and just ran. Our building is 5 stories high. As I ran down the steps, my pregnant colleague in front of me, there were no other thoughts. Just “Get out of this building!!!!!” As I reached the bottom of the stairs, other people from the previous floors were in the lobby. We couldn’t get out as the glass doors were pinned shut.

People were out in the street – one guy outside picked up some fallen debris and threw it through the glass. One by one we climbed through the broken glass doors.

As I stood in the street, I could hear screams, sirens, people sobbing. My heart was still pumping. I saw cracks in the floor with liquefaction rising – I walked towards Colombo Street and thats when I saw the full devastation. I turned and looked and realised the Steeple had fallen off the Cathedral.

As I walked up Colombo Street and saw the fallen buildings – the only thing that went through my mind was…”There are people under those bricks.” I was in a daze. As were all those around me.

My first thoughts were then to get to my loved ones. I found my car – tire deep in liquefaction and began the long, slow erratic drive out of the City. All the while, my heart pounding. I was in shock – everywhere I looked was devastation. The only thing I could do to calm my nerves was play my CD – “101 ways to Transform Your Life” by Wayne Dyer. His soothing voice took me home and into the arms of my loved ones.

I am so grateful they are alive. I am so grateful I am alive.

I have lost a parent and a dear friend over 5 years ago. I know how it feels to loose someone. My heart really does go out to all of those who have lost loved ones and who are stricken with grief. Stay strong. Your loved ones are safe and sound with the angels. Loving you always. Forgetting you never.

Kia kaha

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