So today I’m a bit of a mess. I know I’m not alone in saying I have spent a lot of the day randomly breaking into tears listening to the radio or watching the news, because like everyone else I am heartbroken ?; as a Mum, an aunt, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a relative. I know this act has struck a chord on a personal level with so many in some way. I clearly remember the excitement of going to a concert as a teenage girl; the music, the atmosphere, the sense of togetherness and sheer overwhelming joy, you come out in a state of euphoria. To end that evening and those lives with complete and utter carnage and terror is unimaginable, unspeakable and incomprehensible. There are just no words to make this better right now, just platitudes and sorrow.
As a community of everyday people going about their everyday lives, we are all heartbroken for those in that fateful and unfathomable horror in the concert foyer, for those who have lost loved ones, for the parents who are still searching information, for the teenage girls who have been inhumanely targeted in this vile attack, and for our own loved ones and children who have to grow up in this world of fear. One where we can’t go to a concert, football match, travel on a packed train, even walk down the road without being frightened, scrap that, terrified, of random attacks made by people with dark intentions and dark hearts.
I know according to many, being scared means the terrorists have won but how can we move on from this without having fear, caution and distrust in people? As my Mum just replied when I asked how do we explain this to our kids – it’s hard to know how to explain something we don’t fully understand ourselves.
All we can do is to try to explain it in a way we do understand. Yes there are bad people in this world who have beliefs we will never truly get our heads around because we don’t come from their world or share their beliefs, but there is so much good in the world that must in some way give us hope in these dark days; hope comes from the people who rushed to help the wounded, turned over tables to make stretchers, the policemen, the taxi drivers, the community who dropped everything to offer comfort and any assistance they could, the hotels who offered up rooms for those stranded, the hospital staff who worked through the night to treat the injured and in some cases sadly dying. These are normal ordinary people performing extraordinary acts when faced with tragedy and chaos.
So this is what we tell our children. Yes there is evil. If we look through history books, there has always been evil seeking to destroy lives in some shape or form. Even my son’s storybooks normally have a villain and a hero, sometimes he even gets upset when the villain gets his comeuppance. “But why did they leave him in the woods mummy?” Not sure if “because he was a shitbag” is the appropriate response here, it’s a work in progress. Kids have this untainted and uninhibited view and perspective of the world that not only could we learn from but we can even find ourselves leaning on when we are faced with these circumstances and such a deepened sense of sadness and disbelief.
Even a 3 year old knows that the baddies normally set out to destroy fun, Christmas, or whatever it is kids hold dear to their hearts, but they will never truly win because when the goodies come together they are a force to be reckoned with. So we focus on this. The goodies. The best in humanity.
From these heinous evil acts (and sadly I fear it won’t be the last we have to deal with), come unbelievable acts of kindness and love. Together we are stronger than those cowards with a singlular explosive device to free themselves from their own dark and tortured existence. We are the lucky ones who get to live in a world of shining light and hope. That when put to the test, we come together, and cannot be torn apart. We build lives, we don’t destroy them, and therefore we are invincible.
It sort of reminds me of the end of the Care Bears movie when the bears all have to hold hands for magic beams of light to shine out of their hearts and ultimately defeat the evil. The story centres around a lonely boy who had lost trust in humanity and was taken in by an evil spirit trapped in a book and brainwashed to carry out dastardly deeds on humankind. The parallels of this and the movie strapline “what happens when we all stop caring” certainly ring true today.
Everything we are brought up to believe in, even from a young age, is that it’s better to be unified in carrying out acts of solidarity and kindness, than to be alone and gutlessly inflicting pain on others. Even though sadly many things in this world we live in have changed since I was a kid, that message hasn’t.
Really, the Care Bears couldn’t have put it any better;
“We’re standing here together just as proud as we can be,
We save the world for caring folks like you and you and me,
And when we care together you become a family,
I’m proud to see that you’re standing next to me,
Yes it’s great to be in that family”