Like most of us, I imagine, thoughts prompted by the terrible events of Friday evening are never far from the surface for me. Everywhere you look, you see the single word ‘Solidarité’ to express our support for the people of Paris and especially those most directly affected by the atrocity. I even saw it as the header on Amazon just now. But I am just one insignificant person in the great scheme of things, and although my solidarity with everyone is genuine and heartfelt I am not sure how much it can possibly mean to them at a time like this. So I thought I’d share a very personal thought with you, to try to give that some meaning.
These are my daughters, the two most important people in my life. This photo was, fairly obviously, taken at the wedding of my older daughter, Katy, for whom Ruth was Chief Bridesmaid. This was just over three years ago and was one of the best days of my life, alongside the two days when they came into the world. I think about them both every day, and I have thought especially about them since Friday. What happened in Paris can and, sadly, is likely to happen in other countries. Any country which supports the fight against ISIS makes itself and its citizens a potential target. For maximum effect terrorists strike in heavily populated areas and, as my two girls both live in London, I fear an attack on our capital city even more than I might otherwise have done.
What if that had happened here and my daughters were caught up in it? It’s a terrible thought, but one which any parent will have. I wouldn’t have been able to say goodbye to them, to tell them one last time how proud I am of them and how much I love them. They both came round to see me the previous weekend, with Katy’s husband, Dave. We spent a couple of hours together, which were filled with fun and laughter, with the sheer joy of catching up on the progress in their lives and the vivacity that they bring to anywhere they are. If this had been them, none of us would have known what was about to happen but at least we would have had that one last time together for the memory. That is why I feel so much for the families, friends and loved ones of the 129 who lost their lives in Paris. I just hope that they all have some special memories to sustain them through this terrible time.