Tuesday, December 28, 2004


I remember when I lived in LA after a big earthquake there, how the days that followed the big shaking were still FULL of aftershocks. And this seemed unbearable and unfair to me. I didn't know about aftershocks until then.

These aftershocks are somehow even harder to take as they completely flatten your ability to regroup. They shake your emotional wherewithal to the ground again and again.

After a quake you have to force yourself to stagger back to your feet physically, but emotionally as well. You have to get your courage up to feel a sense of safety and security and go on with your life and it seemed as if every time I managed to get myself back together and started to feel hopeful and that I could go on, an aftershock would come to remind me how tenuous everything was. It was very very difficult.

The quake took place a few weeks after I had had a miscarriage and all of these events made me feel like someone had pulled the rug out from under me. When I think of it now, it sounds just terrible, but amazingly, I had enough good sense to muddle through and within a few months, was pregnant again with my son.

I was having nightmares at that time about going into my kitchen, opening the cupboards and instead of plates and cups and bowls on little shelves, there would be NOTHING, just open blue sky with white clouds and this gigantic sucking wind that would pull me out of my kitchen, off my feet, no way to resist it, right through the cabinet, right into mid-air and I'd fall and fall and fall.

In reality, all our kitchen cabinets had earthquake latches on them, which all you people who've gone through quakes know are like baby safety latches to keep your cabinets from opening and dishes from falling all over and crashing. You quakers also know the sound of the plates and glassware starting to rattle, right? The beginning of a quake can be like the sound of a small locomotive starting down the tracks with your kitchen being the destination terminal. It can start quiet and get louder and louder until all hell is breaking loose.

I know people find the courage somehow to recover from difficult circumstances. I'm always amazed at it. I'll keep all the people in Asia who've suffered loss and are trying to get back on their feet in my heart this week. It's going to be very crowded in there.