Saturday was the fourth anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing, and Ariana Grande did not let it go by unmarked. The singer posted a heartfelt note on her Instagram Story grieving for those lost and consoling fans feeling the same. She also called out each victim by name so they would not be forgotten.
"Although grief is ever-present and our relationship to it is constantly evolving and expressing itself in different ways every day, year-round," Grande wrote. "I know that this anniversary will never be an easy one. Please know that I am thinking of you today. Manchester, my heart is with you today and always. John Atkinson, Courtney Boyle, Philip Tron, Kelly Brewster, Georgina Callander, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, Liam Curry, Chloe Rutherford, Wendy Fawell, Martyn Hett, Alison Howe, Lisa Lees, Megan Hurley, Nell ones, Michelle Kiss, Angelika Klis, Marcin Klis, Morrell Leczkowski, Eilidh MacLeod, Elaine McIver, Saffie Rose Rouses and Jane Tweddle."
Grande wrote the message in simple white lettering over a black backdrop and attached it to a drawing of a heat formed by many bees. Fans praised Grande for facing the anniversary head-on, knowing the memory of that attack is as difficult for her as for other survivors.
Grande had just finished performing in the Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017 when a terrorist detonated an explosive outside, killing 22 people and injuring 139 more as they were leaving the concert. Grande has since admitted that she considered drastic measures at first. In a 2018 interview with Time, she remembered telling her manager: "I can never sing these songs again, I can't put on these outfits. Don't put me in this position."
Instead, Grande decided to go in the other direction and use pop music to empower survivors. Two days after the attack she organized the One Love Manchester concert, which came together in just a month and featured her fellow stars like Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Coldplay. The show raised millions of dollars for the victims of the attack and their families.
"There are so many people who have suffered such loss and pain. The processing part is going to take forever," Grande told Time. "It's the absolute worst of humanity. That's why I did my best to react the way I did. The last thing I would ever want is for my fans to see something like that happen and think it won."
"Music is supposed to be the safest thing in the world," she continued. "I think that's why it's still so heavy on my heart every single day. I wish there was more that I could fix. You think with time it'll become easier to talk about. Or you'll make peace with it. But every day I wait for that peace to come and it's still very painful."