10 Years On

10 years ago I had my 15 minutes of blogging fame. I was in newspapers and magazines, asked to appear on Japanese TV and do a talk in Amsterdam. This was because I wrote about what happened on the Piccadilly line train on July 7 2005 and what I went through afterwards. I was young and angry and needed the space to work out how I felt about what had happened to me. I didn’t always make the right choices but through the blog and subsequent media I met people who were on my train and at the other sites and some of these people remain my friends today.

Once a month, passengers on my train would meet up in a pub in Islington. We were called Kings Cross United. It was wonderful to talk to people who knew what I was feeling, were going through the same set of emotions and when some well meaning people around me told me that I should ‘just be over it by now’, the others from the train could tell me that I wasn’t being mad or melodramatic.

I have emotional scars from that day which I will probably carry with me for the rest of my life, but that is okay because I have the life. Flying will always be a problem, as will rollercoasters in the dark. Actually, I’m no longer very good with rollercoasters at all, which is slightly annoying as I used to love them. But that is okay, I’ve accepted these things.

It was with these other survivors that I went to the original memorial at St Paul’s and every year I take a moment to think of those who didn’t get off the train that day.

This week I received an invite to a 10th Anniversary service. It was unexpected, as much as the wave of emotion that hit me when I read the email. I knew that 10 years had passed but I hadn’t given much thought to it until that point and I stood in the street as I read the email and cried. I still don’t know why I cried.

I spent the walk home thinking about the intervening years and how my life had changed. Ten years ago, I could truly feel that my life was split between pre- and post attack. How I saw the world around me had changed and so had I. Now it feels like this event happened to someone else. I have told my story so many times that it is as though I am reciting something I had once read rather than something I have experienced. I am so far away from the person I was back then as well. I no longer feel that my life has been split in two but is ever evolving through the big and the little things alike.

On the walk home I decided that it wasn’t right that I attend the service for many reasons. I no longer live in London for a start and the places in the cathedral are limited. I don’t need to be right there to remember and reflect; someone who would like support on the day could have those places. Finally, I want to be with my family on July 7th. I want to be thankful for all the little decisions I made that day 10 years ago which placed me at the opposite end of the train to where I would usually stand and saved my life. I want to be thankful because the two beautiful children asleep right now are able to be in this world and I want to be close to them.

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