– Richmond, Canterbury, New Zealand

12:51pm, 22nd February 2011… a day I will never forget, a day my worst fears came to the fore.

I had just got home from work, had made my coffee, lunch etc, sat down with my laptop. Then the shaking started, the noise was deafening, the shaking was violent, I threw my laptop and grabbed hold of the tv, I don’t know why I did that, but I did. Next thing, the gate flew open and a stream of water and liquefaction rushed past, my big brass mirror literally jumped off the wall, lots of cracking, smashing and banging. I heard the lady in the next flat crying, but I was too scared to move.

My partner worked 5 minutes from home but it took him over an hour to get home. My kids and grandsons were in town somewhere between south city mall and cashel mall, they text me to go get them, but I couldn’t get my car out. They had to walk to my place, about a 15 minute walk. My then 4 yr old grandson said to me when they got there, “Nanny, I thought I was going to die”, it broke my heart, the emotional toll it has had on myself and my family is astronomical, something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

We hung in there until May, in April, my partner applied for and got a job in Auckland, we moved here in May, it is not home, never will be, it has been hard to start again, to make new friends, a new life, and I still don’t feel safe. I am fully aware that it CAN and WILL happen at anytime, the psychological effects will be with me forever. I will return to Christchurch, it is my home, everything and everyone I love is there. Stay safe my fellow Cantabs, even from afar, we stick together.

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