It is easy to take the life we have and the way we live as the way it is supposed to be. In the last weeks two events have reminded me that life is fragile. Very fragile.
First the earthquake in my own country, then the catastrophic one that hit Japan. Every day for these last weeks I have seen pictures that look as if the end of the world has come. All from the comfort of my lounge.
And I have wondered at my own ability to cope should something as devastating as these two events touch my life. Because it is not just the moment, or the day that these things occur that change your life. It is the on-going battle to take your life back again.
I was lulled into thinking the worst was over. Yes there were aftershocks, and lives in New Zealand would be irrevocably changed, but the words were hopeful that were uttered by the populace.
This week hundreds of people in Christchurch found out they had lost their jobs. The buildings they worked in are unsafe and their employers can not keep them on. There are thousands who have been made redundant because of the quake.
This, on top of losing their homes, some their loved ones. How do they not crumble away under it all?
I watched as residents left a Christchurch suburb on what has become a daily trek away from their homes while engineers spend the day blasting dangerous rocks on hillsides behind them. They have no idea how long this will go on – but not one of them complained.
Some are still waiting to hear if their missing family members or friends are among the bodies recovered. It is a long and painstaking process identifying the bodies. This is something no-one wants to gets wrong.
Imagining myself in such a position – waiting to hear – I simply can’t.
In the wake of the March 11 earthquake the Japanese are having to face unimaginable hardships. Some of these strike deep into their culture.
With so many dead – the Japanese now need to bury their loved ones. This goes against those with Buddhist beliefs.
Usually they cremate their deceased, eventually placing the remains in family tombs near Buddhist temples. While this may not seem a big thing in the wake of everything else that they must endure – it can only add to their heartache.
Bodies are being buried after DNA samples are taken so that there is a possibility of identification at a later time. It is hoped that then the bodies can be handed over to their families for cremation after being exhumed.
An earthquake strikes and is over within minutes – but the toll it leaves on the people continues to overshadow their lives for much longer. Possibly for some – until their end of days. Sitting comfortable, listening to the outside rain I hope we do not forget them and the struggle they face in staying warm, and fed. And for many moments each day I am thankful those I love have full bellies and beds to sleep in, and that I still walk the earth to see it.