Left homeless by the Sept 4th Earthquake, we quickly found a house to rent. We deemed ourselves most blessed. Our beautiful house by the Avon River was destroyed, but we rented a very similar house, closer to the city, and still by the river. That old statement, some people never learn...I think they wrote it for us.
I thought, until just recently that those six months were tough. The aftershocks kept us ever aware of what had happened. The people of the city were jumpy and tired. We didn't sleep well. We woke up early to aftershocks. Our children slept in our beds, had nightmares and often didn't want to go to school.
My little one, Maddee, who turned four in December, was one of those highly traumatized children. She returned to behaviour baby-like behaviour patterns. She was afraid of water, wouldn't sleep in her own room, and would not leave my side. I coaxed, talked, hugged, chatted and prayed for weeks. We would make progress only to have a day of intense aftershocks and find it was all undone.
Even my next oldest daughter, Izzi, struggled through. So much of the time, she held her own, but a bad day of shocks, or a large aftershock in the night, and I would trip over her on the floor of my room when I got up the next morning.
Life was tough.
The worse thing for me was the warnings of more to come. We were told that the pattern is always to have a point lower magnitude earthquake in the first week after a large event.
It didn't come.
We had five points somethings, but no six's. A month, two, then three past. The experts appeared back on our news, giving us the good news. The time to worry about another large earthquake was past. Each passing day made it less likely that a six pointer would happen.
The aftershocks lessened in intensity, they grew further apart. Life returned to a new normal, we talked to our insurance agent, worried about how long the land reparation was going to take, looked at plans for a new house. The worry was disappearing. Maddee returned to preschool.
In the days leading up to February 22nd, I don't remember feeling an aftershock. All we had to do now was put up with the longevity of the restoration. The event was past.
Maybe that is what makes an earthquake so shocking. Copying the words of the great Monty Python...'No One Ever Expects an ...Earthquake.' Especially when you've just had one.