The empty beds

There are many days when I sit down to blog and think, ‘I honestly have nothing to say.’ 

It never stops me, obviously.

But there aren’t many days, thank God, when I feel so utterly lost for words. On my daughter’s 14th birthday, I woke to hear the news that in my home town of Manchester a man has walked into an excited, happy crowd of girls around her age wearing a bomb around his body and deliberately killed, maimed and terrified them.  

So the day she’d looked forward to for so long began with me having to explain why I was crying listening to the radio. And I’m haunted tonight now I’ve put my kids to bed by the thought of the empy beds, the families that will never recover from the gaping hole that’s been punched into their lives.

As parents you spend so much care, so much time and worry, protecting your child from real and imaginary danger. It takes years and years of tiny endless acts of love – meals and snacks and washing up and wiped noses and midnight Calpol and tantrum-taming and party preparation and chauffering and skinned knees and homework and haircuts and sleepovers – to raise a child and it takes just one second for some mindless maniac to end it all. 

I am holding onto the faith articulated so powerfully by Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

Good is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death.

But I cannot stop thinking about the dreadful, empty beds.