Every morning I get up and look out the window at the sea.
Some mornings she is a stunning blue, others she is whisked with whitecaps, but each time I wonder if she will return Hayden Marshall-Inman and Winona Langford to those who love them.
It's hard to put into words the feelings of the past month.
• White Island eruption: The dead, the missing and the injured
• White Island eruption: Seventeenth victim dies at Middlemore Hospital
• White Island survivor who suffered horrific burns is 'up and alert'
• Fake online videos of White Island eruption upset Kiwis
I didn't know any of the people who lost their lives on December 9 when Whakaari/White Island erupted but I do know family members of our local guides.
In spite of not knowing them personally, the past month has bought feelings no different to the loss of a loved one. And I know, from talking to others within the community, I'm not alone.
While life goes on, it's in those quiet moments when your mind turns to the events of December 9 and the knowledge families are in mourning while others are supporting loved ones on a journey of recovery that you know will be long and painful.
It's the downtime when I think about the trip back to the mainland for those who had suffered burns and what they had to endure, and for those uninjured who were trying to comfort them. I think about the emergency service staff – on the scene at the wharf, at the hospital and now in the burns units – and what they saw on the day.
I think about how hot it was on the afternoon of December 9.
As well as anger at an active volcano and grief at the lives lost and maimed, there is also perhaps a feeling of responsibility – like Whakaari/White Island is in our patch and we were unable to stop her doing what she did.
I have heard people asking if we, as an adventure tourism town, had become complacent when thinking about Whakaari. Had we forgotten the destruction an active volcano had the potential to create?
Had three decades of uneventful visits to the island dulled our senses to the risk?
The mood of the town is also difficult to describe. We have been a little more subdued this summer, I think. Whakatāne and especially Ōhope, have hosted the annual summer visitors but something feels different. The usual frivolity feels somehow suppressed.
Perhaps people have taken time to reflect on what has happened. Perhaps the mood is sombre out of respect. I don't know, but it is different.
Tuesday's drowning hit like a sledgehammer.
That may have been because, like on December 9, people were at the Whakatāne Heads watching events unfold and feeling helpless as there was nothing they could do.
Another rāhui has been placed over our water, a reminder that another life has been lost.
There are plans in place for a monument, perhaps similar to that created for Pike River, to acknowledge the lives lost on Whakaari/White Island.
One day we may get to hear from those who survived the eruption and also learn of the heroic acts that happened that day – because you know there will be many.
But even after all that, I don't think I'll ever look at Whakaari/White Island the same way I did before December 9.
When she can be seen puffing away surrounded by stunning blue sea or whether we ever get to share her environment again, the volcano will always be a place that stole the lives of 19 people.
Those people may have understood the risks but none would have imagined they would never make it home.
- Katee Shanks is an NZME reporter based in Whakatāne