It is impossible to imagine the unexpected loss of the person with whom you have chosen to spend your life. I cannot begin to imagine what it is to be a child who is told that their mother has been taken from them by an act of violence. We all experience loss and grief; yet the loss of a parent and a partner, in the circumstances of the murder of Jo Cox MP, must be the hardest of blows to take.
Any loss of life is a tragedy. Some deaths touch the general public more than others. Often it is either due to the esteem or affection in which the departed is held or because something about the death touches the public. Think of Princess Diana or Aylan Kurdi.
I confess that I had never heard of Jo Cox MP before this afternoon when I first saw the news that she had been attacked. What I have learned of her since then indicates that she was a person that it was very easy to admire and plainly somebody who was loved.
And, of course, one cannot help but be moved by the death of a mother of young children. Everyone, every individual who has a heart, every person who has decency in their soul, will lament her loss and express the deepest of sympathy for her husband and children.
Yet the murder of someone with whom I was not familiar has saddened me in a way which I could not, at first, fathom. And then I realised, probably along with the rest of the nation, that the murder of an elected representative of the public is a loss to every single one of us.
Whatever your views of policiticans in general or the doctrines they represent, first and foremost they represent you. Even if you did not vote for them, even if you did not vote, they represent you. This is the form of democracy we have chosen. It is woven into the fabric of our society. Small pockets of the country sending their representative to the House of Commons.
In all likelihood this role, representing us, has led to the murder of this politician, role model, wife, mother and friend. We will learn over time why this happened, in the sense of what motivated her murder. I doubt I will ever understand why someone would do this.
For the moment the loss of Jo Cox is a wound to the whole of the country. It is a tangible reminder of the connection of each in society to one another. And as we mourn the loss; as we express our shock at the crime; as we reflect on what it says about our society; we also need to have at the forefront of our minds that the taking of the life of this public servant, in a public place whilst carrying out her public duties, is a private tragedy for her family and friends.
May they find comfort in their time of sadness. May we find a way to celebrate the life of Jo Cox so they always know she was someone that we could all be proud of.
What a very, very dark day.