Quakes left me feeling 'empty'
My life at home and at work has changed so much since the earthquakes.
At 40, the city that I grew up in feels barren and looks like a skeleton of its former self. It doesn't seem to have the character that I was always proud of.
Maybe it's just me but the happy-go-lucky nature of the people I know and the city seem to be missing.
Although a lot of people I know have moved on with their lives and are not dwelling in the past, there are still times we drift back to the period of the earthquakes.
The question is still asked: "Do you think they're over?" Inevitably some answer yes. Others have a "who knows?" approach and their eyes say "I hope so", while a few still feel there is more to come.
Although they move on they still have a fear every time the right-pitched noise touches their ears or the ground vibrates in just the right way.
There is a part of me that wishes it had never happened and a part of me that feels empty and I can't explain why.
What's the point of leaving? This is home and we now know an earthquake can occur anywhere. Scientists clearly can't predict where and when it will happen, so we live our lives and just accept our fate.
To all those people that are still living the horror of the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and insurance, I feel for you.
I've been there and done it and can empathise with your anguish.
What the officials and the builders don't understand is that for many of us our homes are everything we worked for in your lives, our nest egg; if they aren't repaired to pre-earthquake standards it is us that lose, not them.
We can't sell the house for the price we hoped it would get, so we are out of pocket.
When we have age under our belt we don't have the luxury of time to start again. It's unfair to expect us to have to start again.
EQC and insurance, just do the decent thing and to all the tradespeople, treat the house like it's your own and do an exceptional job.
Last of all, love your families and those close to you like it's your last day. Laugh, live and enjoy your life because, as so many of us found out, it can all be taken away from you in the space of a heartbeat.
Even as I sit here typing this contribution I wonder when the next one will come.