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I can’t quite summon the words as to how this feels. The eternal nagging at the back of my mind that every time I leave the house something could happen and I might never see it again. The familiar halls that have my childhood etched into every corner; an innocence at not knowing what the world has in store for me. The belief that the worst thing that could happen is getting in trouble, or missing out on some school event; being in blissful ignorance about how fragile my life line is. Living in a state of not knowing about the kinds of people out there who want to label and diminish us.

As I’m writing this I’m sure someone pops into your mind. Maybe it’s people you see on the news? The ones who test our faith and leave us both praying and despairing for humanity. It feels like you blinked and another tragedy occurred, chipping away at your faith to be rebuilt by the unity you see between total strangers in times of crisis.

I have never had a connection to this place or even been there to visit before a few months ago. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling shocked and terrified. For the families that lost someone, for those who are in endless torment currently at not knowing whether someone they love and care for will be coming home tonight.

The tight knot in my stomach that seems to constrict every time I see the names of those who are gone forever. A child as young as three who doesn’t even know of the challenges he will face in his life. We’ll never know what their last memory was, whether it was of happiness or utter terror. We will never know if, in their last few moments, they realised what was about to happen or if their life was taken before they could even blink. All we know is that this cannot happen again and it should never have been possible in the first place. We live in a time where terror and fear brings us closer together and makes us stronger, but this nightmare that unites us shouldn’t even exist.

To the cowards who think that this act achieves anything in their favour: you are sadly mistaken. The world pities you, and the dread you try to instil in our hearts will only fuel our fire. It’s times like these that reveal people’s true nature. They show what we stand for and that we will fight these strikes with every fibre of our being. The tears that we cry tonight will be wiped by complete strangers and unsung heroes of the hour. People across the globe will shine a light to the lost who feel like they will never find their way back. Words and actions can never do justice for what has happened, we can only support one another and pray that it is never repeated.

Tonight, we mourn the loss of the lives gone forever.

Tomorrow we try to create a better place where we never have to question our humanity again.

Kate Wilkins

The author Kate Wilkins

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