Archie Andrews carries his grandson with him. Jayden Andrews-Howland sits on his left shoulder. The tattoo is a permanent memorial to the boy who was lost just a day before he turned 15.
Jayden was not just his grandson, Andrews said, they were best friends. "Jayden may not be with us but he is with us in heart and spirit."
Yesterday Andrews was present as Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee unveiled the site for a permanent Canterbury Earthquakes Memorial alongside the Avon River.
February 22, 2011 was a day that brought shock, sadness and grief, Brownlee said.
"But it also brought courage, heroism and determination and those things have helped us, each of them in many ways over the last three and a half years . . . we would like this memorial to be a testament to all of those virtues but in particular to the loss of life that was experienced on that day."
Andrews and other family members who attended the ceremony know all about that trauma.
On February 22, after Jayden was released from school early for a teachers-only day, he took the long way home and boarded bus 702 on route No 3.
After the earthquake hit, his parents rang him, texted him, drove around the streets looking for him and ended up waiting at the end of their driveway for hours hoping to see him coming down the road. But Jayden never came home.
Only one of the 12 on that bus survived. It was crushed by an unreinforced brick building that toppled over on Colombo St in the city centre.
"I'm proud to be associated with this because it's not just for the families or the injured, it's for those who were lost, to let them know that they won't be forgotten," Andrews said.
"This will help. It won't cure but it's a place to come back and reflect on the good times."
It is also be where Andrews will come on Jayden's birthday - February 23. He has had some health scares lately but said that seeing the memorial finished, in time for the 2016 commemoration, was part of his plan. He would be there when the final product was unveiled.
The site is on the Avon River, near Montreal St, and is bordered by Cambridge Tce and Oxford Tce. A part of Oxford Tce would be made pedestrian-only.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel invited public submissions on memorial's design. .
"You don't need to be a landscape architect to have your idea capture the imagination of those making the shortlist."
She said the competition would excite the energy of many creative people in the city who had come to the fore in the last few years. Six would be shortlisted and the preferred option created, using up to $10 million from the Government and $1m from the mayoral relief fund.
"This will be a place of belonging, a place of memory ... and a place of inspiration and of hope," she said.
Jayden used to visit his grandfather almost every weekend. Together they would ride around the region in his old Ford and planned to one day trip around the North Island together. Now it won't happen.
"But he is with me," he said looking at the face on his arm. "He is always with me."
- Sunday Star Times
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