As Orlando comes up on the anniversary of the Pulse shooting, an event that shattered the hearts of so many in this city only to have us unify to piece those hearts back together through community and love, what’s happening in Manchester is eerily similar. I know how much you are all hurting right now, for those who died your lives were taken too soon, for those that survived the questions, pain and guilt of surviving is overwhelming and for the residents of the city you wonder how this could ever happen in your home.
Let me tell you this, your home will never be the same: don’t expect it to be. You will feel the aftershocks of this tragedy, emotionally, politically and literally for weeks and months to come. You will walk past that arena and feel your heart break all over again. You will see the world move on and feel angry that they do not feel the devastation you are feeling. Your city will forever be marked by this.
However, my dear Manchester – my dear mother country – remember this; because of this horror, you will become more capable of love, of compassion, of kindness and of connection then you ever thought possible.
You’re already doing it, with free taxis, hotels, homeless heroes, food and blood given to the recovering kids. But more than this when you see someone hurting you will be there. You will hug strangers and listen to their stories. You will pray and cry like you never have before. Your love, displayed in the smallest of actions, will silence the hate that was intended.
Remember those you lost. Love for them. Live to honour them. Everyday, take them with you and be the future that was taken from them.
You will never be the same. Orlando has never been the same, yet our community has never been stronger. I promise you will heal, you will grow and you will love. And as you do, those you lost will live on forever.