The Day of Days - My Story
You don't know me. And I'm sorry to message you like this. But sometimes you get that feeling of 'this is something I have to do'. And I really felt it in my heart to message you after reading your story yesterday…
My name's (removed), I'm 23yrs old (18 at the time of the 'quake) & on the 22nd of Feb I lost my grandad in the PGC building. He worked for Marsh. His name was Barry Craig. A lot of people hear the word 'grandad' & think it's not that big of a deal. But without going in to too much detail, my grandparents played a huge part in raising me, to the extent they were more my parents than my ACTUAL parents at times. I'm an only child & the only granddaughter &, in nana's words, I was grandad's world & 'the apple of his eye'. The day the 'quake hit & the building came down, a piece of my heart went with it. And my heart will never be the same.
But I just want to say thank you. From the bottom of my heart. For what you did that day. Five years down the line, my family know that Barry (grandad) could never have been one of the survivors. And I put emphasis on that word. Survivors. Because miraculously, out of that shattered building, there WERE survivors. Mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers etc, who DID make it home to the people who love them. And I cannot describe how thankful I am for each one of their lives. And without your selflessness, your courage, your determination, and of course that of the other people who were alongside you, more lives would have been cut short that day. I'm not going to call you a 'hero'. Because I'm guessing you probably feel far from it. And what YOU experienced that day, what you went through, most of us will never comprehend. But when I feel overwhelmed by my grief of losing grandad, I think of the people who DID pull through, and the those who played a part in making it possible. And it actually makes it almost a little bit easier. I believe and have experienced through this devastating journey that even out of the most horrible of circumstances, out of absolute tragedies, there can and WILL be good. The good won't neccessarily outweigh the bad. But it's there. And that's the main thing. It's about getting to a place of being able to recognise that good.
I know I don't know you. But I have no doubt you did everything in your capabilities that day. Maybe you wish you could have 'done more'. But if that ever happens, remind yourself of how much you DID do that day.. Of the spouses who DO still have their husband/wife, the siblings who DO still have their brothers/sisters, the sons/dsughters/grandchildren who DO still have their parents/grandparents etc.. If grandad had stood a chance, I know he would've been in the best of hands with you & the other 'average joes'.
I'm so sorry, I've bloody rambled. I don't know if everything's going to come across the way I want it to, but I hope you do get some of it! Congratulations on your recent marriage to Sally! I wish you both all the love, fun & joy in the world.. Nomatter where in the world you are! And I hope this doesn't upset you, make you angry or anything like that.. I just wanted to pass on my thanks to you! Take care, Matty!
On the fifth Anniversary of the Earth Quake an article was published based on the this blog and the stories of two others from February 22nd 2011. As a result I received a number of messages including the above which I think is a nice prequel to the following…
Like any other day I was at work going about my usual daily jobs and I specifically remember sitting in the production booth thinking to myself that it has actually been quite a while since we had even a small quake. It had been nearly 5 months since Christchurch had been woken at 4am on September 4th to the 7.1 magnitude quake, and since then smaller aftershocks had been a common occurrence. So it was a nice to think that the morning we all remembered so well was beginning to fade into the past, and the aftershocks were becoming weaker and further apart.
I still think about the irony of my thoughts on the morning of February 22nd, as that day ended up changing my life forever.
Lots of people saw some things they never thought they would ever have to see on that day, some people have never spoken of these things, some have suppressed what they saw or experienced, and others can’t help but remember what happened. I wanted to write down all the things that I saw on that day so that I’d have a record, as I didn’t want anything to be forgotten. I haven’t told the full story of the things I saw to anyone apart from one or two people. But now, on the second anniversary of the quake I think it feels like a good time to let other people know exactly what I saw that day, because amongst the pain and suffering, I did also see some magnificent feats of bravery, selflessness, and most memorably an unwavering and reassuring greatness that lies in human spirit. It was 12:51pm on the 22nd of February 2011 and this is my story….
There was no warning, no slow rumbling or gradual beginning. It was very sudden, and within a second the whole building was shaking with a relentless and merciless power. I was in door way looking along the hall way which separated our seventh story offices. Within seconds I was brought to my knees. I was young, fit and healthy and yet was entirely defenceless and immobilized by its furiousity. I remember looking down the hall way to Sally and despite wanting to get to her more than anything it was physically impossible for me to even stand up let alone walk anywhere. Its violence invoked true terror in the eyes of people I was near, it was a level fear that I had never witnessed before. Furniture in the office was being thrown around with an unrelenting violence and power that made tables, chairs and even the marble topped reception desk look like small toys being tossed around effortlessly by a careless infant. The lights flickered in and out of darkness and in a terrified moment the man in the office next to me took off down the hallway, and it was like watching someone try to sprint over inflatable lilos that lay over a pool, he got nowhere and was brought down with such speed that even the ability to put out his hands and break his fall was lost.
I can’t remember how long it actually lasted for but apparently it was about 45 seconds, some people say it seemed like an eternity but for me it seemed like only 10 seconds. When the shaking had stopped and the noise of the rumbling faded all I could hear was yelling, confusion, swearing, fear, crying, and the attempted calls to stay calm from our manager. I specifically remember looking out the window and hearing one of the girls burst into tears as she screamed “look at Christchurch”. We saw dust rising from everything as far as we could see, and so fast that within seconds the brown cloud came past our seventh story window reducing our visibility to on a few meters outside.
I went to sally and asked if she was OK, people started to run towards the stairs. I told Sally to go and that I would be out soon. I ran back into the studio at the far end of our offices, Sue was on air. I barged in and remember her saying on air that we we’re OK, I spoke over her and said that we needed to leave. She wanted to stay on air but I refused and said Sue we have to leave now. She returned to the mic and said that she hoped everyone was safe, and to do whatever you need to look after you loved ones. We left the studio together and she went for the stairs. Our floor was split shared with another office so I ran in there yelling out to see if anyone else was still inside. I did a final check on our side, and remember the deserted airy feeling I got when I looked back at the dark offices trashed by the quakes fury. I went towards the stairs and as the lights were out they were pitch black however the now cracked concrete did let shivers of light rays though with allowed enough light to navigate down the seven flights. I popped my head into each floor on the way down yelling out for anyone. There was another man doing the same thing on about the third floor and we continued together until we exited the building. We were the last people out and I remember as I walked out into the day light our manager was driving out of the car park and yelled out his window go home to you families. The car park was full of confusion and fear, people not knowing what to do, where to go, people trying to get their cars out of the car park before the liquefaction flooded the whole area making impossible to drive out. One of the girls came up to me and said people have died as she pointed to the PGC building that had countless floors compressed on top of each other, the road was chaos. All of a sudden every person in the CBD wanted to get out in a hurry, and in their panic lost all regard for road rules, and courtesy. Everyone was looking out for themselves. I guess this is survival mode. I went back to the car park, hugged Sally and we both asked each other if we were OK. We got our station cars out of the flooding car park and parked them across the road. Somehow though the congested phone lines my phone rang, it was my mum, asking if we were OK, she said she had talked to my sister at the university and that she along with herself were fine. I tried to explain the damage that I was seeing, but simply said this one is really bad mum, people have died. As I spoke to mum I walked along the road and was in shock at the things I saw. Pure carnage, people running everywhere, buildings in pieces, shattered glass, people crying, screaming yelling, cars driving anyway they needed to get out of the city. The sound of alarms echoed though the streets, water flooded out of drains and hydrants, liquefaction was coming up though cracks that littered the roads, parks, and footpaths, so much so that the road was down to one lane. This is when I realised how severe this really was. There were still aftershocks happening and I remember being outside the Christchurch convention centre still on the phone to Mum when another one hit and this building’s front is nothing but glass and it shock and wobbled so much I was surprised it didn’t fall out.
After I talked to mum, there was a police woman trying in vain to stop people walking down a certain road as it had been entirely blocked by debris, I asked her if I could do anything to help, she said in a very un easy and scared manner yet her tone implied her desperate urgency “ can you please ring my daughters kindergarten, I need to know if she is OK” I tried countless times, yet the phone lines were so blocked up I could not get though, so I had to tell her sadly that I was sorry but I could not reach the kindergarten.
I returned to our work car park where a few people from our building including sally were still gathered. We loaded all the promotional food and drink from out outdoor storage shed into people’s cars. After 30 minutes or so, I hugged Sally and said I think I can help people and that I was going to go and try.
Another young guy from work and I then broke into the surveyor’s garage who shared our building. We grabbed hard hat helmets, hi -vis vests and a crow bar each. We ran back out into the streets which were now nearly deserted apart from the cars that had become stuck trying to get out of the liquefaction. We ran down the streets looking for areas / places we could help. We went past the PGC building which had gone from a 7 story building to only 1.5. A lady from work was standing outside it crying and told me she knew people that were inside, there were people walking around covered in blood, crying and disorientated. You need to understand this is way before any emergency services had arrived, there was not yet a single fireman around, only a few police who were just as confused as everyone else, there was no road blocks, no organisation or in fact anyone that really knew what to do.
We realised there was not much we could do at this building, so we carried though the deserted and ghostly streets that I had so many times walked before. We found a policeman on high street and he asked if there was anything we could do, he said he was trying to confirm if the buildings were clear. He threw us a can of spray paint, told us we needed to clear the building and said if anything happens or there is another aftershock get outside into the middle of the street as fast as you can. Me and Dan then took turns going into each building one by one while the other waited outside (incase something was to happen, one person could get help for the person inside) I remember running upstairs in to one place, screaming as loud as I could ‘is anyone here, can anyone hear me’ then listening intently. The whole place was deserted and airy, I felt really uneasy being there. But I ran around the offices opening every door I could, yelling for anyone, their lunches and coffees split over the floor and everything out of place after being so violently being thrown around. After exiting each building we would then spray paint a big ‘C’ on the door of that office or shop to signify that the building was cleared. We probably did this to a dozen or more shops, offices, a dentist surgery, a tattoo parlour and everywhere along that street. It was so weird going to shops that I had been into before looking to buy a shirt or hat, now I was there looking for bodies or trapped survivors. We walked past all the bars we used to drink at, the restaurants we used to eat at and the clubs we played at, but now they were all destroyed or in pieces. Such an odd experience.
We were now at the corner of high street and Manchester where I saw the first dead body I had ever seen that wasn’t at a funeral. A lady just laying there which someone had covered with a piece of astro turf. A very surreal image, that is always in my head. I later saw footage of people trying to resuscitate her. We headed down Cashel Street when we heard faint yelling, it took us a moment to figure out where it was coming from. We looked up and saw people in hotel windows. Obviously all interior exits were blocked so they had smashed windows, and actually tied sheets and towels together and were hanging out the window. We were too far away to communicate with them, and there was a police man there. He told us that help was on the way and was trying to relay that to them. We still had our spray paint so wrote in massive letters on the middle of Cashel Street “HELP IS ON THE WAY STAY INSIDE”. A fire tuck arrived, so we carried on. There was a strong gas smell on Gloucester Street, so we wrote beware gas on surrounding buildings and the road to warn others. We were next to the press building when its roof collapsed inside, it was a deafening noise and I thought it was going to fall onto us. We walked down Colombo Street, where a police was screaming gas, stay back, so we went up and together wrote gas warnings right in the middle of Colombo Street outside Ballentynes. I later saw my writing on TV too. We also cleared crushed cars, we would check inside for survivors then if they were clear we again would write a big C on the door. We headed back down Colombo Street, it was cold now and I saw a whole bunch of sweatshirts on a rack outside a shop, but really didn’t want to be accused of looting so carried on. We walked into Cathedral Square to find the cathedral flattened. The spire had fallen towards the square and was still together just lying on the ground. This was really a sad sight. It was only the two of us in the whole square, and I remember standing for a moment looking at the cross on the very top, which for so many years had looked out over the square as a symbol of our city, and now lay shattered on the ground. We carried along down Colombo Street where a lone policeman was standing. There were bodies of many people who had been caught under the falling verandas of the street’s shops. Some bodies were destroyed other just looked as they were sleeping. I remember one deceased lady’s cell phone was ringing. I went to grab it from her bag, as I knew it would be someone that loved her trying to check if she was OK, just as my mum had rung me before. I thought it so unfair that me, a stranger knew of her fate yet not her family. As I went to grab her bag the policeman yelled at me and said no, we can’t touch it. We have to leave all the bodies until they can be photographed, I said but her phone is ringing, and I remember his sombre face when he sadly looked at me and said it hasn’t stopped ringing for the last 30minutes I’ve been stationed here. So we had to leave her. We came across another tall building that had survivors trapped on the roof. It was too high to hear what they were saying and the police man was trying to communicate unsuccessfully with them. So we did what we had before and wrote on the road and used hand signals to figure out how many there was and that no one was critically hurt, also that help was on the way.
We continued down Colombo Street and ended up back at the PGC building. On the side of the road there was a pile of helmets and because I have a massive head mine didn’t fit properly so I exchanged mine for a bigger snowboarding helmet. I then walked up to the fire truck which had just arrived and using its ladder had just got some bloodied survivors off the top of the collapsed building. I asked a fire fighter what was going on, he said some of the workers that had escaped are txting people trapped inside, and we were able to figure out where survivors were in the rubble.
There was one fire man on top of the building and another coming down the ladder, I gestured at the one on top of the building asking if he wanted me to help. He said yes, so I walked over to the back of the truck where I met the other fire fighter who was just coming down, he said are you going up, I said yes. He then said something I will never forget. He grabbed me by my shirt and nearly lifting me off the ground, pulled me up to his eyes and staring at me said “don’t get yourself into a position where you need to be rescued, be smart he said. I replied ‘OK’ he then shock me and said OK to confirm my understanding. I repeated that I understood and then climbed onto the truck, up the ladder then onto the top of the collapsed building.
I never saw Dan again until few days later, I don’t know what happened but we had gone our separate ways from here.
There was only one fire fighter on the roof, and I was the first non fire fighter on the building. I asked what can I do? He explained to me that other team were coming in from two different sides and we were going to go from the top straight down. He said they had confirmed 3 or more people in one section and one in another. Sadly they were in two different sections, and to use our time the best, we had to leave the single person and concentrate on the group. He drew a square on the ground and explained to me it needed to be big enough for a stretcher to get out of. There was a sledge hammer and long steel crow bar thing up there. I picked up the hammer, and began hitting the line he had drawn. I did this for probably 15 minutes until another person joined us, he then used the bar and we alternated one for one strikes on the concrete. It was a very slow process, we were only two guys with a hammer and a crow bar, hitting 8 inch thick reinforced concrete with only our strength. Still we carried on. The fireman did nothing, only stood there and instructed us. He was the head of the search so that was his job. Soon another person joined in and we were able to sub out for a few minutes to rest our hands which now were bleeding. The hole was maybe 6 feet square, so as you can imagine wasn’t easy to get though. It probably took 45 minutes to get though the roof, but once through the concrete though we then had to then cut, break and bend the steel reinforcing, again very difficult. A police man brought up some water and asked us if there was anything we needed, the fireman, replied tools, power tools, jack hammers, steel cutters, food and more people. The policeman nodded and took off to find the requested items.
I remember a man up there running around frantically, and I asked if he was OK, he screamed my fiancé, my fiancé, she’s in there! I said its OK mate, everyone is doing their best, he said we are getting married on Saturday, I need her, and we have to find her. I later saw on the news she did make it and they did get married that Saturday.
Soon a couple more people joined us and we were able to take longer breaks as we still only had 2 tools. When I had a break I would look around and just take grasp of what was going on. There were hopeful workmates and family members on the grass verge across the road all looking at us, hoping we find their colleagues, friends, mums, dads, who ever. The crowd was growing, and so was the number of ambulances and police. Although none were coming up, just waiting down there for instructions or news from the fire fighter. I saw a crane getting the trapped workers from the top of the building that we had discovered before. There was a helicopter with a monsoon bucket flying over and over us, which turned out to be getting water from the Avon to try to put out the fire in the CTV building. There was an air force Hercules circling the entire city too, and smoke still rising from behind buildings of fires yet to be extinguished.
We broke through the roof, then had to get rid of all the debris, we made a human chain and began moving it all out and throwing it over one side of the building. Once cleared out the person at the bottom of the hole would yell and scream for survivors, everyone would stay quiet and wait to see if we could hear any voices.
We carried on and on digging, by now there were maybe 10 people helping and as the hole got deeper only one or two people could fit in a time, so we did 3 – 4 minutes shifts going 100% for that time then swapping out. On another break I saw the army had arrived and had built an emergency triage on the grass across the road. Every time we found a survivor and pulled them out, a huge cheer would go up, and we would high five each other. On the contrary whenever we found a body an equally sombre felling would circulate. The fire fighter would not let us get the bodies out though, he said we are here for the survivors right now, leave the dead and we’ll get them once all survivors are out and safe.
We continued down though the floors, I remember coming across what was obviously the staff room. We pulled out packets on 2 minute noodles, peoples cloths, wallets, bags, shoes all sorts of stuff. Even about 10 bottles of beer, we kept those though. It was odd finding such personal items, I opened a ladies bag and found her wallet with her licence her name was Debbie and I still have no idea if she survived of not… I do remember finding a card she had with a quote from Sir Peter Blake talking about not giving up, I thought this seem appropriate. I put it all in her bag and gave to someone to take down to the triage.
I remember one trapped lady that came out and as soon as she was free on top of the building she was crying and she hugged the man ho rescued her with the most sincere, honest and true hug I had ever seen. I don’t know how to explain it, but he saved her life, and that hug seemed to justify her gratitude for doing so. I will never forget that.
Once we had cleared the rubble from each floor the person at the bottom would then crawl though any space we could to trying and look for survivors. This was scary, there were still aftershocks happening and one happened when I was under 3 stories of collapsed rubble and probably 4 meters into the building away from the vertical exit. I tried not to think about it, but scary thoughts crossed my mind.
It’s hard to explain but no one up there was trained in what we were doing, there was one fire man and maybe 10 people, just normal people like me, there was an electrician, a plumber, some labours and me; a radio guy. There were no search and rescue people, no one trained, no with any connection to any of the trapped survivors, just a bunch of random people doing what they could.
On a break another guy and I saw another potential way into the building, a staircase. It went right to the roof and although it had fallen sideways to about a 45 degree angle it was still intact. We had to try and scale this 45 degree concrete wall, so using a rope we found we managed to get it caught around bit of steel we climbed up. There was a photo of me in the press as I climbed up this (See below - I am in the light blue t-shirt). We then got into the staircase, just me and this other random stranger, and we went down the stairs. They too were on a 45 degree angle, covered in broken glass and debris. There was no light and the further we got down the darker it was. We screamed and screamed for survivors but to no avail. We went down as far as we could until the stairs were too wrecked to carry on, so we climbed back out. This was the scariest time for me, this was the one time I thought, I really shouldn’t be in here, this is silly. It was dark, on a huge lean and no one even knew if it was stable of safe, so I was relieved when I exited safely. We went back to our hole and continued our shifts.
The police man came back up and had broken into a hardware store and stolen 3 brand new jack hammers, and had a huge basket of food. Me and 2 other opened the brand new tools and began to put them together. There was a generator that had arrived so we had power. It was funny, I was a bloody radio guy, I didn’t know anything about jack hammers, but I managed to put it together and the fire man saw me with it and said you, go. So I climbed down and after never using a jack hammer before began breaking the next floor down. We now started to make progress, we also had steel cutters for the reinforcing. We found more survivors and more bodies. I remember hearing a voice yelling, it was the floor below me so I began digging as fast as I could, I said there was a person here. We kept going, now using buckets and rope to pass the rubble out of the whole as it was so deep.
We got though and found this woman. It had now been 8 hours trapped inside this building, in the dark, by herself, but as I pulled her out, I realised her situation was far worse. The reason she was still alive was because a horizontal pillar in the building had fallen next to her and ended up sheltering her, however when the building collapsed she was next to a co worker, and the beam that had saved her, had crushed him. He had been nearly split in half, this woman had spent 8 hours in the dark trapped with her friends torso. I pulled her out, and then climbed up the ladder, right behind her so my chest was to her back, making sure she would not fall. We came out the hole and a crane was there and had its bucket on the top, we walked into that and were slowly lowered down. She was physically fine but she wasn’t ok mentally and understandably too. She held onto me as we were lowered down and with my arms around her I held us tightly into the corner of the bucket. I said to her that my name was Matty Lovell, and it was nice to meet her. We got to the ground and I walked her into the triage. Everyone rushed straight to her and after 5 minutes they found nothing wrong with her physically. She was very lucky. I then sat down with her and as best she could I got her to draw a map of the floor she was on and whereabouts survivors, bodies or anything she could remember. All the survivors had been communicating so she did actually know quite a bit. I thanked her, then she hugged me, looked into my eyes and just simply said thank you. I never saw her again, but understand she is back working for the same company in a new office, and I often wonder if she remembers me.
After leaving her I climbed back up the ladder and drew re drew the map I now had onto the side of a fallen air conditioning unit beside the whole so we all had an idea of where people were. I continued doing my digging shifts but by now the whole was really deep and there was not much we could all do, there was food and water and even a big tarpaulin which we were able to hang over the hole to shy off the drizzle.
About 10 at night an air compressor showed up along with some road workers. These guys brought all their gear, and were not mucking around, they knew how to use their specialised jackhammers and they started and really made some amazing progress digging.
It was about then I realised that there was not really much I could do anymore, there were now fresh hands, stronger people and specialised workers, so I went up to the fire fighter and asked if I could do anything for him, he said no mate and then announced to anyone that had been there for over five hours, anyone that had families or anyone that wanted to leave could because they had nearly a whole new team there.
So with that, I climbed back down the ladder, took one last look at the building and the forever hopeful relatives, families and work mates standing across the road from the collapsed ruble hoping the next survivor would be their Dad, Son, Mother, Sister, brother workmate, or friend. I turned my back and walked off into the darkness. There were no street lights, no pedestrians or vehicles. It was a ghost town.
I slowly walked back to where I had left the work ute. I tried to contemplate the last 9 hours of my life, but it was just too unbelievable so I got in my car, I put the radio on while driving and every station in our company had been turned to the news station to report on the quake. When I got home I hugged Sally, and then sat down in the dark to eat a dinner Sally’s mum had cooked on a camp cooker. I told them of some of the things I had seen that day. I finished up, had a shower, and lay down in bed. My head still full with the images of the things I’d seen, but also I remember being so grateful that I was able to go to sleep knowing that all my friends, family and work mates were safe, because sadly that was a feeling so many people in Christchurch were deprived of that night.
That was my day. The things I saw and what I did. I really saw some amazing things that I still think about. I always admire the police woman who did not even know if her child at kindergarten was safe, yet was trying to warn complete strangers of upcoming danger. I often wonder and hope that she was able to get hold of and find her daughter.
I also think about the people I dug with on the PGC building, all complete strangers, from different backgrounds, working together tirelessly, with bleeding hands to try to help someone they had never met. These men climbed into places that could have collapsed at any moment, but yet did not think twice.
I remember the hug the rescued woman gave the man who pulled her out, I mentioned it was too hard to put into words and it is, but I will never forget that. I have never seen anyone from that day again and I often wonder what they are doing now and if they think of that day as I do.
I remember the celebration we all had together when we found a survivor or pulled someone out alive. I sadly also remember the commiseration we had when we found a body.
I think of how every often slags of road workers as being lazy, and would nearly always consider their lawyer or accountant far more important in their life, but I can tell you when you are trapped 6 floors beneath a crushed building, a road worker that is incredibly good with a jack hammer is a godsend.
I remember the sadness when the fireman told me they knew there was a survivor over there but we had to concentrate on digging where we could save the group of trapped people. I hope that person made it out ok too.
I always think of when I climbed down the ladder, and then simply walked off into the darkness after some of the most memorable experiences of my life. It was really weird to have no conclusion, no official ending or debriefing. We all just simply climbed down and walked home. These men were true heroes, yet they just walked off unnoticed
One year on I went to the anniversary in Hagley Park. It was nice to go to. Amongst other things, they named and brought up all the policeman, fireman, and rescue teams that helped that day, and I couldn’t help but be saddened as no one that I saw risking their life that day was present on the stage to receive the same gratitude these people were getting. Don’t get me wrong these people were also incredible, but the people I was with were on the scene long before the official rescue teams, with no training, no experience, and no idea if it was even safe to be where they were. So I guess by naming all the people that helped it almost made it feel as they were the only people that helped. I don’t know why this has stuck with me, I guess I just saw some amazing people do some incredibly selfless things that day, and yet all efforts seemed to go unnoticed. But then maybe I think that is the mark true heroes.
We all come from different backgrounds, different races, religions, different sexual orientations, different pay grades, different jobs and different lives, but yet when something like this happens, it’s a really reassuring feeling to know that we are all humans and when we need to we all come together to survive.
On Tuesday 22nd of February we felt mother nature at her worst, but that day I saw and was reminded of the unwavering greatness and that lies in the human spirit. My life will always be different after that day. I saw something’s I never thought I would but I believe the more we experience in life, the more we can understand the more we can grow to the best we can be.
Do I wish it never happened? Of course but it did, and amongst so many horrible things that I witnessed, it’s the amazing things that I try to remember more, and I have grown to appreciate things differently now.
We pulled seven people out alive from the PGC building that day while I was there, and if nothing else, it’s nice to think they are somewhere now living their life, happily.
In the days following the earth quake down I was encouraged to write a lot of stuff down to help process what had happened, I'm not sure where it came from but somehow I wrote this which really sums up my day.
On Tuesday I saw men search for strangers with total disregard for their own safety.
I saw men dig until their hands bleed, and yet not stop.
I watched people work for hours looking for strangers while they remained uncertain of their own families well being
I watched the rescued embrace their rescuers with gratitude that defies words
I saw the celebration of life and the commiseration of death.
I saw ordinary men become heroes, and watched heroes go unnoticed.
On Tuesday we felt mother nature at its worst
But on Tuesday I saw humanity at its very best.
God have mercy.