There will be few people who have not shed some tears in the last 24 hours. The Queen was an institution. Someone that we had all grown up with and have known. A figurehead for the country and as stated by many commentators someone who oozed a sense of calm even in the most difficult of circumstances.
I know there will be many in policing who will feel the loss very personally. On my first day working within the police, I remember walking to my new office within Merseyside Police headquarters to be confronted by a very large portrait of the Queen covering one of the walls outside. It was a reminder of the fact officers swear an oath to serve the Queen. There were plenty of occasions when the national anthem was played, where members of the Royal Family visited police officers and buildings, and when the connection was reinforced.
I remember clearly the visit she made in the days after the Manchester Arena terrorist attack. It was a moment of light seeing her talking to young people at the Children’s Hospital. At the start of my time in policing in Manchester there were happier times with the Queen’s attendance at the Commonwealth Games in 2002.
But all this is not the reason why, like many, I have found the past 24 hours so difficult, emotional and upsetting. What has affected me is the loss of a mother, the personal loss that the Royal family will be experiencing. Just four months ago we suddenly lost my Mum and the days since then have been hard. Many days have felt empty and pointless. I am not alone the country, and the world will be full of people who are dealing with grief. One thing I know now is that grief is a very slippery beast, and it can sneak up on you when you least expect it.
Listening to tributes, hearing some of the songs on the radio, watching the photographs of the Queen’s life, and just talking to someone can bring the tears back to my eyes. The pain of losing Mum is back with me as raw as it was in May. In this national period of mourning many people will be going through the same emotional rollercoaster that I am. All I would ask is for people to be that little bit kinder in the days ahead. Be supportive and look out for those who are struggling and may just need a kind word to help them through.
I want to say thank you to the Queen for all she did throughout her life and my heart goes out to the King and his family who need all our support in the days ahead.