Monday, 11 June 2007

In Our Prayers

Richard and I felt undeniable sadness, tempered by a measure of relief, when we read this week-end that the McCann family were recognising that soon they might have to move on and start the grieving process for their beloved daughter Madeleine.

As parents, we pray and hope that she will come home safe. As a police officer, Richard could only say - if she is dead, pray it happened quickly.

For me it brought back memories of a time soon after we were married.

A young child was abducted in the UK, and the suspect was being hunted throughout the country. A police officer on Richard's ground was out walking the beat on Night Duty. He noticed a car with out-of-town plates driving through their insalubrious area of London, and also the fact that that make and model was extremely rare in that particular colour. On returning to the station, he noted his observations in the 'occurrence' book. His superior, on checking the book at the end of the shift made the connection to details of the suspect just sent out to all forces. The suspect was picked up soon after and ultimately convicted of the crime.

What I remember was Richard's silence for many days, before he was able to explain to me the fact that the full details of the horrendous crime were not going to be released. Thankfully, compassion and commonsense prevailed - it was decided that those parents should not have to live with that degree of knowledge.

At the age of eighteen, I was horrifyingly unqualified to help Richard other than by being there, ready to listen, when needed. I thank God that the need to provide proper psychological support to members of the emergency services is recognised nowadays.

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