Last night, I was talking to my 'babba' about how I am providing expertise to NICE - National Institute of Clinical Excellence.
I was due to travel to Manchester in the morning of 23rd May.
He read my little blurb/biography which they had put together together with other experts across the country and he said 'I am really proud of you honey'.
We went to bed...
I woke at 6.07. Had a 9am train to catch.
Kissed him good morning. Jumped into the shower.
As I applied conditioner to my hair, whilst he was having a 'lie in', he said 'darling, there has been an explosion in Manchester, can you switch on the tele'.
He saw the breaking news on his phone.
I switched on the tele and there it was.
19 people dead and just under the hour, 22 confirmed dead, 59 injured.
I was numb.
'What is this?'
This is not the sort of news anyone wants to hear soon after you have just woken.
Shell shocked and standing there like a lemon, I was silent. Quite disconcerting too, I must add.
'Are you sure I should go ahead with this trip?'
'Of course' he said, 'until you hear otherwise'.
So I jump back into the shower. Get dressed. He made me breakfast and I made my way to Manchester for the very first time.
Got off at Piccadilly Station, (thankfully, it wasn't closed) and walk to NICE offices.
As I strolled there, I whisper in my heart, fear shall never prevail over bravery. Terror will never bring us down. Fear shall never win over acts of kindness and acts of service.
Today, I have taken annual leave and I am providing an act of service.
I am thinking of all the first responders who continue to serve this country and save lives when these bloody attacks happen.
But firstly and more importantly, not without holding these innocent lives taken away from the earth in my prayers and my thoughts. Praying that their families who are clearly and utterly devastated by this terror attack are comforted and can muster some strength to go through this horrible phase.
I will never understand the evil happening in this world.
For those children and young people, who never got to live life and see their potential, it has to be the most devastating thing any parent can go through. My heart is broken for them.
Manchester was evident in the spirit of love, bravery and unity today. People out and about their day to day stuff.
It turned out to be a productive day for me.
I made my way back to London and left Manchester with a prayer of healing.
Written May 2017