It’s been nearly two months since the fire and so much has changed. It’s mentioned every now and again but the fire has been put out and as they prepare to cover it, to hide it, it has slowly become a distance memory.
Driving down the A40 a few weeks ago, I found myself shocked. Slightly annoyed at myself. How had I forgotten them so soon? I wanted justice for them, but now I can’t even remember their names. I remember a few of the faces from the missing posters. I remember the stories of the eyewitnesses. I remember some of the signs hung up and the messages written above the burning candles.
I thought it strange. To light a candle in memory of the death, considering the way that they past. But at least it was in memory of them. As the fire becomes a memory, a historic event, a cautionary tale to the world. A warning, a lesson. I can’t help but feel guilty. But this is not about me and I shouldn’t make it about me. But it’s about us. Us as a people. Who are we?
It’s a shame what it took to bring us all together. Our anger and astonishment united us. Beyond our race, class and everything that we cling to, we were all focused on that one thing. Tragic but true.
But we all feel guilty to some extent. Giving goods and money, doing whatever we can to help. There really is no such thing as a self-less act. The donations were needed. The stories of centers having to shut down, overwhelmed by the generosity. When you look at the figures, the victims have been given so much. So much of everything, maybe more than what they had before but what they had before was priceless. How do you put a price on a human’s life, or on their safety?
We didn’t have to know anyone to feel personally affected. We were just moved by the tragedy. By the negligence. But the charity, the kindness, the love that was shown in the aftermath, makes you realise just how strong we could all be. Giving all that we have to those without anything. Socialists at heart. Lovers at heart. Humans at heart.