I’m a Mancunian but I haven’t visited the floral tributes.
I haven’t fully explained what happened to my daughter, 8 years old and a huge Ariana Grande fan. She knows the briefest details, but that that is all. Not that people were killed. Only hurt.
I watched the concert, donated money but that is all I have done.
In all honesty, Manchester, I feel a bit of a coward.
I’ve worked as a journalist here in the city, brought up two children here and still haven’t felt validated to add my voice to all those already on social media. But then I went abroad and got sad, really sad. Gone were the ‘You’re from Manchester? Manchester United – the best football team in the world!’ And instead we got, ‘Oh. Manchester, you say. Terror attacks.’ Now that hurt. Really hurt. How dare our amazing, creative, multi-cultural, busy, fun city be tarnished by such cruelty? I remember looking out of the taxi window with tears in my eyes, not knowing how to explain how wrong they were.
On arrival back home, I thought long and hard about what to do. I thought about my children and what their future holds. I’ve always worried that my daughter’s school cares more about attitude than academia, but have they got it right after all? This term they have celebrated friendship, team work and tenacity. They’ve both come home with certificates for ‘ always doing the right thing’ and the teachers have held celebration assemblies to ensure all the children know what is expected of them. Could this be exactly what I need too?
If there is anything I have taken away from this terrible, turbulent time is joy in the space we’ve created where it is OK to express love and support. In the past, I have been terrible at this. Insular and a little under-confident I haven’t ever really made much effort with the people around me. New neighbours moved in six weeks ago and I have barely said hello. An elderly lady lives two doors down and I have never checked on her to see how she is doing. This has got to change. I have got to change, and I want to follow my daughter’s example and not be afraid to celebrate what’s good in the world.
I’m not brave enough do any big gestures to help those directly affected, but I can do lots of small things to help those that weren’t.
I want to be a better person.
Thanks Manchester. You’ve shown me the way.