Tragic Leadership

It started out a sad day – Tim’s elderly cat was at the vet, and the prospects were not good. I could sense the grief in Tim at lunch.

A short time later, at 1pm the same feelings of despair hit me as they did in September when a friend who’s ill in hospital phoned me to say I better phone my parents as there’s been a serious earthquake. Only yesterday I had included my folks with the 1952 photograph of them in my last blog. I knew Mum was okay as she had texted me just prior with a text “bad stake, hope Tom and Dad are ok”, which didn’t make any sense. Did everyone have food poisoning I had wondered? Anyway my son Tom and Dad had been in a CD shop in Cashel Street prior to visiting Ballantynes when the quake struck. They emerged to a scene of destruction, dust and the CD store collapsed. Cold chill. Luckily they were able to walk home.

Many others have not been so fortunate and as I write they say 65 people have been killed with the prospect of many more. To say that this is a difficult is trite.

My thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones. And with those who are desperately worried about loved ones who are missing. I cannot pretend to imagine the anxiety and suffering.

That as a community we seem to know what to do when tragedy strikes, because we’ve had now three big tragedies in the last few months, is tragic itself. But we do and when you read messages, hear the shake in Hillary Barry’s voice on TV3, you feel we really are a community nation. Grief is very personal. This is of a scale that as Kiwis it feels personal for us all.

A dark day with many more to come. But somehow feel a stronger Kiwi with media, political and crisis leadership dealing compassionately and so quickly with such a tragedy. And proud of Tom for being such a great support to his grandparents. And a sad day for Tim who for the second time in a fortnight, saw an old and much loved pet die.

Two strong boys I’m proud of today. Let’s do what we can for Christchurch.

Stephen

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