I've been intending to write this for a couple of days. I planned on putting it up as I put up photos of the two houses we have survived in this Earthquake Event. I have been overcome by a weariness that would not allow me to write. Today I was determined that before I went to bed, I would write these thoughts that wrestle in my brain. Today I would write.
But today, I also walked my street again. My beautiful street with houses all along one side, looking down at the Avon River. I walked it, and gave baking to my neighbors who are still there, still living without water, power, or sewage. Their immediate difficulties strangely out weighing mine. My house is so broken it is unsafe to live in, so many there have houses that are in awful states of disrepair, but inhabitable (if only barely). Then I spoke to a neighbor whose house is only one away from my own. A woman I had hardly seen while I lived on the street. She is one of a large family who have lived on Dallington Tce for decades. A close family who seem to need no one else. Her father-in-law (80 + years) was born on Dallington Tce. Her sister-in-law lives behind her, a niece also is in the same group of houses, there could be other family members, I don't know.
The woman looked at me, as she took the plate from my hand and said, 'Thank-you. I will pass this on to my parents-in-law. I say, 'I'm taking theirs now.' (They were the only part of the family I really chatted to on a daily basis.) She stops, 'They're not there, their house is unsafe.' Before I could say a word of sorrow, she goes on. 'You don't know, their youngest son, Phillip's younger brother, he was killed by a falling boulder in Sumner.'
There it is again. That greatest of all loss, the loss of father, son, brother, uncle. I read today about a boy, they called him a teenager, his fourteen birthday just past. He was a boy, an only child. His school was out early, and he had birthday money. He did what any child in this city could do before. He took the bus into the city to spend his birthday money. My own children, my son, Micah, whose 17th birthday is on Saturday and my daughter, Izzi, who turns 14 in two weeks, they do it all the time. All the buses went into the city bus exchange. There you could grab a bubble tea, a coke, an ice cream. Meet with friends at Mac Donalds, or the brand new place called Wendy's. Walk the shops, spend your birthday money. This boy, this boy like my son, the age of my daughter, is gone.
All over this once beautiful city, the pain and grief are ever present. Even on my own street. How can I write about my personal loss today of all days...for it is truly nothing.
Written by Barbara on Feb. 28th.