Moving the best thing I ever did

Kylie Kellas has grown to love her new home

AL WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 22/02/2013
Kylie Kellas
NATASHA MARTIN/ Fairfax NZ
MOVING ON: Kylie Kellas left Christchurch on the evening of the February 22nd earthquake.

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It's been a long and strange trip for Kylie Kellas.

Shock, anger and despair has settled and things have returned to normal since the February 22 earthquake, although there's a new reality.

Kylie escaped Christchurch with her son, nephew and nieces, after being caught in the madness that followed the collapse of Eastgate Mall in Linwood.

The roof fell around her, debris everywhere: screaming children, injuries, even deaths, she says.

"I thought I was going to die."

She barely escaped, grabbing the kids and heading out of town.

"All the roads had split open; I sped to school to get the kids and then it took us hours to get to my sister's house in Spreydon."

Then the impact of what happened hit home. "I just went into panic, shock and anxiety; I broke down."

She had a change of clothes and headed for her parents' home in Temuka.

"I spent a lot time in tears. We got a lot of help when we arrived." It took 12 months to get through the shock with the help of family, friends and support agencies.

"I met new people, started playing sport and started a new job, started getting back on my feet. I started making progress with my son."

She says hindsight has given her another outlook on life.

"It's been an emotional rollercoaster. You miss your friends and you miss your life.

"I think I'm in a lot better space; a lot of things have happened. I'm a much stronger and better person."

She has coping mechanisms in place, she says. "I deal with things better now than I did before. Some of the things I go through now seem trivial. If you'd asked me two years ago whether I would shift to Timaru I would have said no way.

"Now I'd probably never go back to Christchurch; it was the best thing I ever did."

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- The Timaru Herald

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