I have just finished watching 5 Days In The Red Zone which aired on TV One last night.
It follows a group of police that travelled from Ashburton to Christchurch to help after the February 22 earthquake.
It was so intense to watch, I was actually crying. I would like to tell all of you to watch it to see what it has been like down there, but I know I can’t force you. It is on TVNZ OnDemand if you wish to.
I’m not really sure what this blog post is actually going to be about. But watching In The Red Zone started to remind me of my Granddad.
He passed away on February 19. It came as a major shock to me and I still have moments where I just have to stop and cry. I think it was made all the more worse by the quake three days later. I now think the memories of the two events will always be linked in my mind.
One day I hear that my Granddad, a solid rock my entire life, is no longer with us. Then three days later I see a city I once lived in and love destroyed. Within three days I had lost two very important things in my life and was going through that agonizing wait again to find out whether friends and family were alright.
But back to Granddad. Since February I have wanted to do a post on him, letting you all know how much he meant to me and tell you about the things that I remember most about him.
Granddad served in the army during WW2 and was stationed in Christchurch. His barracks were on Manchester St opposite Cokers Hotel. Pac’n’Sav is now there and I believe Cokers was lost in the September quake.
The reason the two will be forever linked for me, is because I am actually glad Granddad never got to see the devastation that Christchurch has witnessed. It breaks my heart to see a city that I love fall to pieces and I hate to think what Granddad would have thought.
I also can’t imagine what people in Christchurch are going through when I’m feeling like this. It must be 10 times worse.
I really want to be in Christchurch right now. To see my sister and friends and give them all a big hug.
Once again I have gone off on a tangent.
As kids, my sister and I spent a lot of time at my grandparents place and with them. They are my paternal grandparents and we were closer to them than my maternal ones who both died when I was younger.
We were quite lucky to have known and had the type of relationship we had with our Granddad, it was almost one as a second father.
Whenever Mum and Dad would go away for a weekend, we would stay with Gran and Granddad. My sister and I used to fight over the cheese bowl that Granddad grated the cheese in for our scrambled eggs, we used to actually alternate, just to be fair.
When we asked what was for dessert that night, Granddad would reply “W and S”, which was short for wait and see and in the Rapley household it meant custard. So naturally we would chorus “Oh no, not custard!”
Granddad would take us down to Cornwall park and lift us up on to the concrete lions that are there, push us on the swings and help us feed the ducks.
I have so many treasured memories of my grandfather. He was always proud of me and he insisted that he see me graduate from university, which he did. My grandparents travelled to Christchurch to see me graduate from the University of Canterbury, both had huge smiles on their faces.
Part of me is sad that Granddad will never see me succeed in my dreams of becoming a journalist, but he was always keen to read anything that I had written. He was so proud to see my name in print.
I remember when he came down to Christchurch one time, whether it was for my sister’s graduation or not, I can’t remember. But he insisted on going to visit Cokers. All of our friends were laughing at him because he kept saying he wanted to go to Manchester St, which is the red light district of Christchurch, most were wondering why this old man wanted to go there. But Dad took him down there, they had a photo outside and a drink in the pub. The smile he had on his face afterwards was amazing.
And that is how I’m going to remember him.
I wish I could post the photo of him outside Cokers, or even any photo of him, but my laptop is currently unable to be used (see previous post), I may update with a photo once it is back up and running.
I miss my granddad and just watching that documentary made me think about him and Christchurch and what has been lost this year.
Hopefully the rest of the year will be better for us all.