Together We Can Say “No More”: Grief in the Wake of the Christchurch Terror Attack

By Alison Dight

I cried in the supermarket tonight.

Something little set me off on a tangent of thought – where I would hide if someone started shooting in the supermarket?

I have spent a good deal of time crying over the last few days since I joined the country in disbelief as we heard about the Christchurch attacks. It is absolutely awful that this happened in our own backyard, to our neighbours and fellow countrymen, women, and children. The country is grieving right now and trying to come to grips with how this happened here in “safe” New Zealand. I don’t personally know any of the victims yet I feel as if I’m grieving for a friend.

One of the reasons it hits so deep for me is that on Sundays I go to my place of worship and pray with my community. I believe I will be safe there. I will take my children with me just as there were children present and killed or wounded at the mosques on Friday. I will close my eyes and pray and sing. The last thing I would be expecting is someone to come in and start shooting my family and friends. I can so easily place myself in the shoes of those who were simply practising their faith on a normal Friday afternoon.

Some people might say “Turn off the TV and don’t dwell on it”, or “Try to look at all the good around you”. I think it is OK to sit awhile in this state of shock and grief. We SHOULD let this affect us. It is absolutely OK to grieve and cry and ask questions. If we try to move on with our lives too soon are we minimising what happened here? Are we saying that those who died and were injured along with their families and friends are not worth our tears and sorrow?

It was in this vein of thought that I organised a last minute moment of silence in the centre of town today. Around 30 people joined our family and we stood together in silence for a minute before I lead everyone in singing the national anthem. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to sing, second only to singing at my dad’s funeral.

E Ihowa Atua
O ngā iwi mātou rā,
āta whakarongo na;
Me aroha noa.
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau tō atawhai;
Manaakitia mai
Aotearoa.

God of nations at thy feet
in the bonds of love we meet.
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific’s triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.

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