Last night I lay in bed candles flickering Christmas novel in hand and I began to let the excitement of Christmas wash over me. My husband Oliver was in Manchester centre with work colleagues and the house was quiet and still. I needed the rest, my mind needed to unwind and it felt great.
When I heard the keys in the door I was almost ready to nod off I hadn’t slept properly in days and exhaustion was catching up with me. Ollie and I exchanged idle chatter and then his face froze and his tone changed. His hand was holding his phone and he asked if there had been an attack in Paris.
I reached for my phone and we both trawled news pages horrified to learn that there had been a number of suspected terrorist attacks within the city. My heart sank and I turned on the news and we watched in unison the red banners sailing across the screen and the scenes of Paris in disarray.
We lay for what felt like hours listening in silence as the news unfolded revealing more and more horrifying details. My heart broke for those involved their poor families. I imagined how terrified they must have felt how chaotic it must have been and how it was such an awful way to die. A tear shed for the lives not lost but stolen from innocent civilians in such a brutal way.
Then I thanked my blessings that my family, my unit were all safe under this roof and how easily it could have been Manchester instead how Ollie could have quite easily been in the wrong place at the wrong time. How only last month we were in Paris ourselves. Then I realised that it isn’t over that it will only continue London may be next, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester. The fear alone is paralysing.
We cannot let them win though we have to be united we have to show that despite the horrendous acts of terrorism we will stand strong because a life of fear is exactly what they want.