Kate Livingstone: Shedding tears for all the victims

editorial image

There were two images this week that made me weep: one showed fun shining out of the darkest days, while the other was one of the saddest things you could ever imagine.

The dancing policeman at the concert in Manchester organised by Ariana Grande in the wake of the terrible bombing in the city two weeks earlier was funny.

But it was also poignant when you thought that it was youngsters the same age as those he was holding hands with doing his self-confessed ‘dad dancing’ who were killed and maimed by the terrorist, along with their parents who had either taken them to the concert to see their idol or were waiting to pick them up.

I hadn’t consciously sat down to watch the televised event on Sunday evening, and I must admit when news broke of the Manchester incident the fortnight before I had to Google to find out who Ariana Grande was.

But like us all, I followed what was happening in the hours and days that followed, struggling to comprehend the futility of it all and the waste of lives.

I recalled taking Emma and her friends along to events at the Hydro and being the ‘parent taxi’ to get them there and back. Oh how I dreaded the high pitched singing on the way there, and probably even more the endless chatter on the way home.

Those parents taking their children to the Manchester Arena must have felt the same, however, for many of them there was not the journey home that they had planned. Just grief and despair.

Looking back, I realise how grateful I am that my children have never had to witness such terrible tragedy and pray they never will.

On Sunday evening I, no doubt like many of you, found myself watching the fundraising concert. While the majority of the performers seemed genuine in their emotive words, I have to confess that I thought a few appeared to be paying lip service to the crowd and the reason they were performing.

But if it raises money for the appeal fund it was worthwhile.

It also gave an opportunity for the people of a city still stunned by this terrible atrocity to let their hair down and who can argue with that.

However, the following day came the first funeral for one of the victims. It was the sight of 14-year-old Eilidh MacLeod’s dad leading the cortege of mourners, holding a cord of her coffin as they came along a road where he probably walked holding her hand as a little girl that made my tears flow.

The teenager from Barra had travelled to the big city for the concert but tragically, her parents will never hear her chat from the concert, but they will never lose their memories.