Christchurch: How we mourn

It’s been 12 days since New Zealand’s worst terrorist attack, and some things are slowly getting back to normal. The shock has worn off and we’re surrounded by an increasing flow of hot takes; vigils that some say turned too political and all the usual suspect columnists back on their pet peeves. Hard questions are going to be asked about how it happened, and what we could’ve done. Life, despite everything, goes on.

But the signs of an outpouring of national grief, of 50 deaths on a scale that feels a lot like our tiny island nation’s own 9/11, are still all around. We’re still having national memorials – Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam is playing at one this week.

Even in my little corner of Auckland, you see signs and tributes. Piles of flowers at mosques, chalked messages on the sidewalks, signs at the roundabouts. Even on a windswept beach about as far from our bustling downtown as you can get without going for a swim, a lovely handmade memorial of colourful flags fluttering in the black sand, seashells carefully shaped into the one symbol all the bloody terrorists in the world can’t wipe out – a human heart.

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