preface - It's not an easy thing for me to write, we are so thankful that our family is safe and I realise how fortunate I am. I know there are atrocities all around the world, I realise people live with worse daily. This is just my experience, this is what I am going through and this is my space to write about my life, which usually consists of sewing but right now I need to release. 

I am writing this post with such a heavy heart. On Monday 22nd May there was a horrendous terrorist attack in my home city of Manchester. The details have been all over the news, there's no need for me to reiterate, in fact it is time for me to stop obsessively reading it.

When I found out what had happened I woke my husband up, I cried and we witnessed the aftermath and reaction together. We were heartbroken.

photo credit: Dick Vincent

My thoughts have been with the families that lost their loved ones, the many people still in critical care and all of those that attended the concert. In the days since I have felt so many emotions, as I'm sure others have. 

The next day the police investigation began and it has been very close to home. Literally my home town, the places I go with my family, the schools, the streets, the areas. I heard the first controlled explosion and initially thought it was another attack. The sirens became a constant background noise, the helicopters circling overhead (some of which are media no doubt). All the emergency services doing their very best, working around the clock to keep us safe. I am so grateful, truly, but it's filled me with anxiety. 

Telling the kids was hard. We were honest, explained what had happened, my husband stressed the importance of looking at the helpers. They were sad and I'm still not sure how it's affected them. My youngest had a bad nightmare and maybe that's her processing it.

It wasn't easy to leave them at school, would they be safe with what was going on? With the police around I felt like they were but what a strange and scary scenario. And there was still panic in my head.

I have been numb. It's been a week where I literally haven't done anything beyond what was needed for the children. I have picked up my sewing each day and sewn for a few minutes in silence but I haven't felt like doing it. I have cried quite a lot. I donated money to the justgiving campaign for the families of those killed and injured, if you would like to donate please click here. We attended a vigil at a local church. I have thanked those I personally know who are working hard in the hospitals. I have spoken to my wonderful friends and lovely neighbours.

This is the worst atrocity in Manchester in my lifetime. I was there when the 1996 bomb happened, working in a sports shop. I was 16, it was my Saturday job. I was evacuated, saw the explosion and had mild PTSD. Thankfully there were no fatalities that day. All I know is how much that affected me and I can't begin to imagine how everyone that was there on Monday must be feeling. The repercussions will be felt for a long time.

No one I knew died or was injured, all the people I know of that attended came home safely. I feel like I don't have the right to feel so sad or so lost.

There is a feeling of hopelessness, a sense of longing to be able to help somehow. Anger about what has happened. Such sadness. Fear. Questions about how this can happen. 

So much of what I want to say is political but that's not what this is for. I will just say that radicalised ways of thinking are not representative of Muslims or the Islamic faith and I hope this tragedy doesn't tear communities apart. We should stand together. As we did in the vigil held in the city centre, or the incredible acts of kindness and responses from neighbouring cities and around the world.

I have lived each day waiting for my family to be together. Thankful and grateful we are.

Today I want to try to crawl out of my own darkness. I will never forget this and I need to carry on.