Thursday, March 3, 2011

I know the pieces fit

I watched them tumble down.

I'm glad I managed to make my last blog post: my first and only blog post from India. It captures everything well, the difficulty in adjusting to a new place, to being alone and what it is to be surrounded by the unfamiliar.

On Monday the 21st of February I arrived in India.
On Tuesday the 22nd of February a 6.3 quake hit Christchurch city - I was told my family were fine.
On Wednesday the 23rd of February I was told my aunty was missing in the CTV Building described as 'unsurvivable'.
On Thursday the 24th of February I began 37 hours of transit to Christchurch.
On Saturday the 26th of February I arrived in Christchurch.
On Tuesday the 1st of March I attended an interview.
On Wednesday the 2nd of March we had a Disaster Victim Identification Process meeting and I started work.

In a week my entire world flipped upside down. The careless travel me, who was getting very good at exploring, was thrust into my worst nightmare. My aunty is so precious to me. Growing up without my mum really present, she was the closet female role model I had. I'm not sure whether she knew I considered her as my pseudo mum, but she filled that void in excess. Her hugs surrounded you with comfort and soothed you. Her words were always wise and never judging. She always had time for you. She'd give you more than she had. She was the best and that is an understatement. Before I left Christchurch she was so worried about me telling me to take care. I wish I had asked the same of her.

When I heard of the quake, I didn't even consider checking aunty was okay. To me she always seemed invincible, and I suppose that is why this situation is so hard to deal with. She was the one family member that I imagined sipping on wine with well into my old age. I feel robbed of very special times I'd often thought about sharing with her (I actually wanted her to walk me down the isle if/when I got married). I never thought about life without her because I felt like she was MY gift and I was entitled to have her in my life always.

It has been eight days since the quake. The city is like a war zone. There are army personals everywhere, the CBD is closed off and there are tanks. There have been no more survivors from the CTV building and there are no survivors to be identified. There are just bodies and forensics teams. I hate most of all that she cannot be identified by her face. She was so beautiful. In a few days, or a few weeks, I will hear the news I do not want. I have hope that by some way of God, who she passionately believed in, she was hidden safely under some pocket of steel and has been waiting for us to find her, patiently. I know when I hear the words of confirmation it's going to hurt all over again. My strong facade is going to crumble down before me. I don't want to face that point in time where there is no more hope left, that point in time where I know I'll never see her again. I know I am not ready for that. I don't think it is something I will ever be ready for. And so, while there's no confirmation, hope brews inside me like a parasite.

This affects my family in so many ways. My dad had recently moved in with my aunty. This situation puts him, and my cousin, in a bit of a financial pickle. I've taken up work here in Christchurch - temporarily - to help out with expenses until both find new accommodation. I don't particularly like living here under the best circumstances, let alone the worst. It. Must. Be. Temporary. I'm actually very lucky to have found work so quickly, and while it is basic I like that is to do with the Earthquake, it makes me feel useful.

My family is so devastated. The last time we lost a family member she comforted me. She comforted us all. We're lost without you, Aunty. You taught me well enough to find my own way, it's just a bit harder this time without you. I'll get there eventually.

On her fridge is a little magnet that says "A mother holds her child's hand for a while, and their heart forever". Every one who knew my beautiful aunt, had their hand held by her. She guided people to where they needed to be. She propped them up when they were down. She was our family's foundations. She will now be with Nana, drinking far too much red, holding our hearts. If I could, I would thank her a million times over for everything. It's hard to sit here after you've lost someone and not feel regret. I wish I'd told her more often how important she was to me, how much I loved her, how thankful I was and how much her limitless support meant. I wish I had let her know that I was a better person for knowing her, for being in her presence, and for being partially raised by her. But instead of regret I have a knowing feeling. I know, without a doubt, how much she loved me. I think she has the same feeling in her heart, too.

I miss you aunty. I would be very happy if you rigged a special deal with your God and some how came out of this mess. All over my facebook during my travels you kept asking me to come home. It turns out I came home just for you. It would be really great if you could do the same. And don't worry, I know if it was at all possible you would. If you can't come back for me: मुक्त होना.

I'm a world away from the India I was only sinking my toes into last week. It's okay, India will be there next year and so will I :) If you read this, please send your positive vibes to me. I feel like I'm gonna need a whole lotta loving these next few days.

Take care (pleaaaaaase!) xx

ps - as I was about to click 'submit' there was a decent quake here. A nasty little reminder of all that I've lost.