Love Always Wins
It's with such a heavy heart that I write this post this evening. I was unsure whether to write anything at all, but at times of chaos and uncertainty I find that words always help. So I'm sitting down and doing what I always do when I feel a little bit lost, in the hope that it helps somebody else too. I'm sure by now everyone has heard the awful news about the events in Manchester, another senseless attack claiming yet more innocent lives. I know I'm not alone in feeling absolutely devastated today. I know that awful things happen everywhere, all over the world, every single day. But there's something about it being so close to home that makes it sting just that little bit more.
My very first gig was at Manchester Arena, watching Steps with my Mum and my sister. I grew up attending concerts there, everything from Busted to Babyshambles. Like lots of other people, it's not a place I could ever have imagined being a scene of such terror. Watching the news unfolding this morning felt almost surreal and I sobbed as I watched the pleas come in from terrified parents looking for their children.
I've written openly on this blog about how loss has devastated my family in the past 9 months - the difficulties we've faced and how it has fundamentally changed us. All I have been able to think about today is how so many families will now have to come to terms with the fact that they will never be whole again. For that to be because of such horrendous circumstances is just unimaginable and my heart breaks for them.
It's easy in circumstances like this to get caught up in hate. To focus on the bad, the evil, the unthinkable. To be consumed by anger and to try and find someone to blame. But hatred doesn't do anything other than fuel the fire. And at times like these, what the world really needs is love and compassion.
You really don't need to look far to find the good. Last night in Manchester taxi drivers were ferrying people around free of charge. Locals were opening up their homes to victims, making them a cup of tea and offering as much comfort as they could. Hotels were inviting children in and keeping them safe until they could be reunited with parents. The attack was conducted by one person, but there were hundreds and hundreds offering help, support and solidarity without even a second thought.
If I have learnt anything in the past year it is that love has the power to help and to heal. Kindness goes an incredibly long way and the support of others is crucial to rebuilding and recovering the world around you when it feels like you simply can't go on. Those people helping last night, and those who will continute to help in the weeks and months that follow, will never understand how integral they are to helping a grieving city heal.
There is more good than bad in this world and no matter how attrocious the events, love will always win. Rather than giving in to hatred and anger, we need to stand together and spread that love as far as we can. It's easy to feel helpless in situations like this, but sharing your generosity, spirit and light at such difficult times can make all the difference.
So, please, this week and beyond, be kind. Be welcoming and loving and unified and thoughtful. Don't give in to the darkness. Keep trying to find the light.
Manchester - I bloody love you. Always have, always will.