PSNI widow Kate Carroll: You politicians have been given a second chance - time to grab it by the scruff of the neck
On the eighth anniversary of Steve's death, I can't help fearing for the youth of today and the impact the actions of our politicians recently will have on them.
I urge you to take heed, politicians. Life is too short for bickering over who does what, where and when. Believe me, I know that. Today I will be eight years without my wonderful husband.
He loved life but others took that pleasure from him, so live and let live, learn to compromise and at least co-exist.
The recent attacks on PSNI officers were cowardly. They are not just uniforms but men out doing a day's work. It just shows that eight years after Steve's murder we are no further on and more resources need to be put into saving peoples' lives.
Wise up people on the Hill and allow us the respect and life we deserve. Lead by example, not tribalism. Stop showering us with your stubborn behaviour.
Everyone is fed up with it. Try to be impartial and leave the divisions where they belong, in the past.
I'm so fed up with today's politics. I can only liken it to listening and watching a show of unruly, spoilt children in a playground. But the fact is that it is our lives and those of our children that you are messing with. For goodness sake put bitterness and bigotry out of politics, leave it where it belongs ... in the past!
Take this second chance by the scruff of the neck and lead us wisely.
I feel like we are stuck in this big hole and there is no one there to help us out of it. I can't help thinking about my past and my future and what my life should have been - and it should have been so different.
We worked hard to ensure a bright future for ourselves. Sadly for us, someone decided that the name of a country and a divided land was more important than a life.
I should have been living a happy life with my husband. We had planned to travel and spend six months of the year away and six months at home. That was taken from us and for what?
Nothing has changed and our politicians are the only ones who can make things change. At Steve's burial I took comfort from seeing political representatives from every party, including Sinn Fein. Even a representative from the UDA attended.
These people sat shoulder to shoulder at a Catholic Mass. I believed at that time that Steve's murder had been the catalyst for change.
The public showed their solidarity by protesting with peace marches. They no longer wanted to live in a violent, divided society.
I'm proof that life is too short for bickering. Steve was only 48-years-old and lived life to the full. Sadly, because of the unreserved conflict in our beautiful country, others took that pleasure from him.
When our bones are stripped of flesh and we are in a skeletal state no one could ever tell at a glance what religious beliefs we followed or the colour of our skin. There is no better time than today for change. No one wants to go back to the violence of the past. You have been afforded a second chance to make a real and lasting difference; instead of keeping us in a deep hole of despair, give us something to pull us out so that we can work for the good of the future generations and make our country a happy place again.
My last words are, grab this chance by the scruff of the neck and lead us wisely into a great and better future for all our people. As Buddha said - 'You should respect each other and refrain from disputes. You should not be like water and oil and repel each other, but like milk and water, mingle together'.
RIP Steven Carroll.
Eight years ago today, PSNI officer Stephen Carroll (48) was shot dead after terrorists lured police to a call-out in Lismore Manor in Craigavon. He was the first police officer to be killed in Northern Ireland since the formation of the PSNI. Today, as she prepares to mark another year without her soulmate, Constable Carroll's widow Kate, from Banbridge, writes an open letter to our politicians