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Manchester

On Monday night my world was shocked to the core, like millions of others, billions maybe, the day no concert or public event would ever be the same for anyone.

22 years ago this year I attended my first concert, take that in Hammersmith, I was only 13 years of age, I travelled with my friend and her parents and we went off, screamed our little heads off and at the end her parents were there to greet us (at least I think it was hers, it could have been mine) and take us home, this continued up until my late teens and then with family life I stopped going apart from the odd westlife concert, I say odd me and my sister went all over the uk one year to see them, the year they split and one of those venues was Manchester arena.

I cannot for the life of me recall what it looks like or how it was laid out, I can remember Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham, London, Newcastle (I went to see one direction almost two years ago with her), I can’t place anything at all, maybe I’ve blocked it out because of everything but what scares me the most is never in a million years did I ever think I’d go into an arena and never come out alive again but what scares me more than that is this, myself and my sister in our later concert going days we would never sit together (just Birmingham when we were front row and new kids on the block), all those concerts we attended and now thinking back of if it had of happened one of those nights my sister would have been all alone, scared and not knowing what to do. 

With every act of terroism I watch the news and of course I worry but this has left me shocked, it’s left me scared and it’s left me with these thoughts: because of what ‘they did’ no concert will ever be the same, no act playing will ever be the same, no member of staff will ever be the same and no person ever going to a concert will ever be quite the same. Over time, we shall forget what happened, pushed back to the back of our minds but for those 20000 odd people, their lives have been turned upside down, it’s not just the people that watched the show, it’s the staff, the medical teams, the police, the public, the arena staff, all those people that probably run well into 30000 maybe more, those little girls (and boys) who probably waited months, maybe years to attend their first concert will probably never want to go to another concert, maybe not for a very long time, maybe never, those people that work their may never want to work there again, those parents who waited outside for their kids to come out will never want to buy another concert ticket again and while maybe I shouldn’t focus on that, it’s not the main issue here, the loss of life and the injured are more important but I’m thinking long term and how it will shape our future, Westminster bridge for example, commuters will use that bridge as it might be their only way into work. Tourist will still come, the same as New York (to name a couple of these terrible events) but this is quite different, it’s not out in the open where running is an option, it’s in an enclosed space, you have to think about buying that ticket, walking over the bridge to get to work is different in a way, you have options on how to get there but this is a choice, this is something that we can either stick two fingers up to and say we will carry on or we can stop, even for a while to collect our thoughts, our prayers and our breath.

Take care v x

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Life is precious

This weekend, like 9 weeks ago, reality came crashing down on me like a hurricane, I think my life is shit but it’s nothing compared to what I have witnessed in those short weeks.

Firstly at the start of December last year, we lost Jim’s cousin to suicide, in the most horrible way you could imagine and it’s broken his parents beyond repair, their beautiful son, gone for good and why? why did he feel his life wasn’t worth living? We don’t know the reasons why, we may never know but I know one thing, mental health is a fucker and wish as you might “I wish I saw the signs” etc, hindsight is a wonderful thing but hindsight won’t bring this human being back, it’s something that should never have happened, something we wish we could have prevented but we couldn’t, we didn’t and for that his parents will be in torture for the rest of their lives. This puts my shit life right to the back of the field, like we are talking in the fucking bushes. But one thing we can do from this is we can use the signs he was displaying, the words he was using, the techniques he was using to hide his problems and try and help others, if we can save one life from Richard’s death, we might not have been able to save him but if we can help another family not suffer the same pain we have then he won’t have died for nothing.

I never met Richard and I felt awful on the day of his funeral for crying with Jim, I have never wanted to take someones pain away from them as much as Jim and the rest of his family, how his brother, father and most importantly his mother had the strength to stand up and talk to everyone the way she did was heart wrenching, it was the day before Christmas Eve and usually around that time, the drinks are flowing and everyone is having a great time but that afternoon at the wake, drink was flowing and their was laughter but with so much sadness of what we had witnessed earlier that day. I had never been to a funeral that was standing room only, Richard was so loved, I hope he was looking down seeing everyone that came out for him, to say goodbye to this sweet young man. This family I have found myself, in the short space of time is amazing and so close I have never experienced anything like it, his parents will pull through because their is a fantastic support network around them and they can take away the fact they had 27 wonderful years with Richard, unlike the next thing that has summed up my life this past weekend….

In the past month campaign has been running in my hometown, to try and raise £250000 to save a little girl, whose only treatment was available in America, a whole community came together and raised well past what they needed, with more fundraisers organised but sadly, she passed away early Saturday morning, she was just two years old, she had diagnosis at just 16 months old with stage 4 neuroblastoma, ever since then little Flo had fought hard but sadly she just couldn’t do it anymore and her little body could take no more, again like Richard she is out of pain and hopefully dancing in the stars, Richard if you read this can you please look after Flo for when her parents can join her again? I know it’s a silly thing to ask on a blog that a dead person is never going to read but isn’t it a nice thought that these two troubled, pain free souls meeting and him looking after her, or taking her to where she needs to be? it makes me feel better thinking this.

So yeah, my shit life is nothing compared to these two families fighting pain every single fucking day, fuck mental health and fuck cancer.

Fly high the pair of you xx

If you need help or think someone needs help: http://www.mind.org.uk

To donate to Flo fight: https://www.facebook.com/Flosfight