As events folded outside Westminster yesterday, I was watching the news horrified, along with the rest of my colleagues, as our office is literally a 10 minute walk away, near Charing Cross. We could hear the sirens and the quick response that matched the minute-by-minute updates given on the BBC news and then the text messages from my family and friends started.
Half of them don't even know where the office I work in is based, but the terror obviously kicked in; the thought that you know someone that works in London and you hope they are alright.
Sitting down at my desk I had a conversation with my boss that ended along these lines. It is incredibly sad what's happened. And what's sadder still, this is now the time we live in. And it might now forever be like this. It was a bleak and realistic thought.
My tube journey from Embankment station, was similar to my everyday one, only with a police presence at the station which I noted as I went through the turnstiles. The tube journey itself felt suffocating. But I didn't realise that was more due to my own reaction to the events, as I finally sat in a chair on my usual train home, waiting for it to depart Liverpool Street. I let out a breath that I didn't realise I'd been holding. One of relief. I'd made it. I was lucky to be returning back to the countryside where I live. Sadly, some people caught in the attack were not going to be returning home to their families tonight. And a few, never again. I wiped a tear from my eye with a shaky hand and an inner hurt that we're all feeling right now. Not just on the behalf of those killed and injured. But for the stark realisation that this isn't normal, but it's fast becoming the norm.
For a person that works in the PR world and works closely with a political team, I've picked up a lot about parliament and its workings. We have contacts there, clients and friends that come and go from Westminster on a regular basis. Yesterday we were frightened. Today, we're working with heavy hearts, as the world is moving on and the consequence from what happened is and will be dealt with. Yesterday it was Westminster. It could have been anywhere else in London. It could have been anywhere else in the UK. It still would have felt awful.
My family worry for me. They worry about the daily commute I do and tell me all the time to be careful. Careful when I'm walking late at night. Careful when I'm on the train in a quiet carriage. Be mindful of my surroundings and where I am. I hear the warnings at Liverpool Street Station about being aware and reporting anything out of the ordinary. But when we're all going about our business and just trying to get to where we're going, like the people were in Westminster yesterday, we are not always thinking the worst. Who wants to? You can't live like that. It's not living if you live in fear. And we shouldn't be fearful. More vigilant perhaps? Yes, certainly. We could all benefit by being more mindful of those around us and what is going on. Not just carry on mindlessly.
Seeing the news and the updates today continue, my heart goes out to the families of the loved ones lost and to those that are injured. As the country looks on, our thoughts are with you all. To the people who find it stressful coming into London and feel affected by recent events, dig deep. Find your inner spark and keep it burning. Don't let events like this snub out your light and hope. It's that hope and goodness that we all need to cling to and extend to others in times like this. I for one, am not going to feel fear when I step off the train every day coming into this wonderful city. They don't get to win. They don't win now and they never will.