David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

28-year marriage shaken by quake

Dave Cross. Photo / David Fisher
Dave Cross. Photo / David Fisher

A distraught wife has left her husband after telling him he did not pick her up quickly enough after the earthquake.

Ngaire Cross, 65, also told Dave, 56, - her husband of 28 years - that he did not take the time to make sure she was all right before returning to work.

Mr Cross was at Mt Pleasant Primary yesterday, where he had driven his City Care tanker to the community hub to distribute water.

"My wife left me - it's the stress and strain of the earthquake," he said. "She reckons I should have found her quicker. The earthquake is nothing. I wouldn't care if we lost everything, but 28 years?"

He said Mrs Cross left on Friday night after matter-of-factly telling him that he should have got to her faster.

She then returned home on Saturday to pack her bags and personal belongings, saying she would not be back.

"That's what it is doing to people. I don't know where she is or what she's doing.

It's gut-wrenching."

Mr Cross admitted the marriage had been under pressure. He said they had separated two years ago but had patched up their differences and pledged to stay together. They have five children and seven grandchildren.

Mr Cross said he was in Rolleston when the earthquake struck. A heavy truck driver, he did not know it had happened until he returned to Christchurch and saw silt rising up through the road and grass.

"I left work to look for her. I went home to find her and waited for her. You know how hard it was to find people on the day of the earthquake."

Mr Cross showed the Herald the number of text messages and attempted phone calls he had made on Tuesday. One of their daughters told him where she was working that day, and shortly after he got a text message saying she was walking home.

"I went to get her but was stuck in traffic."

He said he found her walking along Ferry Rd about five hours after the quake.

"'You don't care,' she said. I was looking. I was trying to find her. I was trying to text."

Mrs Cross said she was upset at not hearing from her husband on the afternoon of the quake. As a caregiver her workplace shifted, but she said he should have known where she was.

After ensuring her clients were cared for, she left to walk home and found herself wading through water and mud. When he did eventually find her, she said she was upset that he greeted her by saying he had to return to work.

"I got very upset. He didn't ask me how I was or what happened. He just didn't care. I just had to say to him the other night that either he goes or I go.

"All I wanted that day was someone to care for me and it didn't happen. My husband wasn't there for me.

"The earthquake probably triggered it for me - our marriage has been on the rocks for a long time.

"All I wanted was a cuddle. I never got it."

- NZ Herald

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