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Original Source:  EXPRESS: -  01 - 02 - 03 - 04  SUNDAY 20 JANUARY 2008
Sunday Express January 20, 2008 By Tracey Kandohla

McCanns split by agony of Madeleine 


The lives of Kate and Gerry McCann are moving in ''opposite directions'' because they have developed strikingly different ways of coping with the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine.


Kate is living the life of a semi-recluse as she focuses on being a stay-at-home mother, virtually shutting herself off from the supportive community around her.


Gerry, meanwhile, has thrown himself into working full time as a heart specialist during the week, while running the campaign to find four-year-old Madeleine in the evenings and at weekends.


Now friends fear that the strain they have been under for the last eight months is putting a substantial burden on their once idyllic marriage.


Outwardly, Gerry appears to be as strong as ever but Kate is more fragile and is becoming increasingly angry and frustrated by the lack of a major breakthrough.


A friend said: ''Kate is in a much worse frame of mind than Gerry is. She always looks so haunted. They are totally united in everything they do in their search to find Madeleine. But they are heading in opposite directions in their way of handling it.''


Kate has shown no desire to go back to her part-time job as a GP and cannot contemplate her dream of having another child while Madeleine is still missing.


To occupy her tormented mind, she devotes her time and energies to caring for twins Sean and Amelie and has been busy planning a birthday party for them on February 2. The twins will be three the day before.


Emotionally she is split in two by the event Ė genuinely excited and happy for her twins, while at the same time knowing that for a large part of that day her mind will in reality be centred on her absent child Madeleine. Like Christmas, it will be an emotional milestone, a hurdle to be overcome as well as an event to enjoy.


''The mental and emotional agony theyíre going through is unbearable,'' said another friend. ''We worry thatís itís putting a strain on their relationship.''


While Gerry is slowly adjusting to life without his daughter, Kate battles for a sense of normality and has become almost reclusive, haunted by visions of Madeleine.


She recently admitted: ''I still have moments of panic. Madeleine is irreplaceable and I just want her back. Itís not about me, itís not about Gerry, itís about Madeleine. Every day Iím hoping we wonít get to the next day without her.''


Every night Kate, 39, goes into Madeleineís pretty pink bedroom and prays for her. Often she weeps for her cherished daughter. And during the night she wakes up and senses that Madeleine has come back to her.


Her mother Susan Healy revealed: ''Sometimes she sees visions of Madeleine. Then she realises Madeleine is still missing and Kate is absolutely devastated, hysterical and bereft.''


Kate refuses to believe Portuguese police claims that Madeleine is dead, desperately clinging to the hope that one day the family will be reunited.


One commentator recently said that Kate has been physically transformed by grief and that her back, shoulders, hands and mouth are now ''reshaped into the angular manifestation of a silent scream''.


Kateís mother-in-law Eileen McCann admitted: ''A piece of Kateís heart has been torn away and I worry about how she is coping. She looks so frail and so desperate.


''They are determined to give the twins as normal an upbringing as possible in the circumstances.''


But maintaining a normal face is proving to be increasingly difficult as a hidden anger swells inside Kate. A family source said: ''She is angry about all the untrue, hurtful allegations being made in Portugal. And she is frustrated because the whole investigation is taking so long. She may come across as weak and weepy but sheís strong inside.''


Each day Gerry dresses in a smart suit to go to work at Leicesterís Glenfield Hospital, while casually-clothed Kate makes meals for the twins, tidies the house and on Wednesdays and Thursdays does the nursery school run.


A local mother used to help her with domestic duties and babysitting but it is understood Kate no longer uses her services.


Since returning home from Portugal four months ago, the family has had a constant stream of relatives and friends visiting. They also help out with cooking and cleaning.


Kate spends much of her time behind closed doors at her £500,000 detached house in Rothley, Leics. She spends hours sifting through the masses of mail that still arrives every day.


Cash donations, from £10 to £100, presents for Madeleine and boxes of rosary beads and other religious artefacts are sent from around the world. Devout Catholics Kate and Gerry take great comfort in praying for Madeleine at the Sacred Heart church, just a five-minute stroll from their home.


It is one of the few times Kate is seen in public. She attends mass every Sunday with her family and often takes the twins to a Tuesday morning service.


Kate has abandoned the village routine she once shared with Madeleine. She no longer has her hair styled at Dawn Newcombeís salon, which she regularly visited with Madeleine. Her mother normally takes the twins for haircuts when she is staying.


When Kate joined her shortly before Christmas, she fought back tears as she watched the youngsters take turns to sit in the seat Madeleine used to have.


One of the stylists said: ''She was almost in tears as she watched them and my heart went out to her.''


Kate also avoids her favourite coffee shop, where an excited Madeleine once sipped hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.


The couple are both official suspects but vehemently deny any involvement in their daughterís disappearance.


Gerry fears he will never see Madeleine again, saying: ''I know now, probably, the chances of getting Madeleine back are slim.''

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