It is four weeks since Kate and Gerry McCann last saw their daughter Madeleine.
Twenty-eight days of moving between despair and hope - and they still do not
know whether they are at the end of their ordeal or still just at the
The couple’s physical journey took them yesterday to Rome
to meet the Pope, and they will move onwards to Madrid,
Berlin and Amsterdam. But it is scars from their
emotional journey that are ever-present.
Mrs McCann summed it up in six devastatingly simple words: “I miss life as it
“We’re still in the middle of a race but we do not know how long it is going to
be,” Mr McCann added: “I do not know how we will have changed. But it is fair
to say we will never be the same again.”
The hardest part, they admit, is the unknown. “Every day is one day too long
without Madeleine,” said Mr McCann.
"We have got to get a resolution.
“It is hugely difficult. The first 48 hours was akin to having a bereavement.
It was as though Madeleine had died. It was anguish, despair, guilt,
helplessness all falling into one.
“But it is different to a death, where you grieve and try to move on. Madeleine
is not dead. We have been thrown into an ongoing trauma, an ongoing crisis of
“There are different emotions at different times and we are helping each other
through this. We complement each other well, we remain strong.”
He added: "We have focused into how we can do positive things, to
campaign. We are totally preoccupied as how to get Madeleine back.”
With the visit to see the Pope, the global campaign has reached, in Mr McCann’s
terms, stratospheric levels.
They flew to Rome in the private jet of Sir
Philip Green, one of Britain’s
richest men, who had offered it for free to help their cause. Prime Minister in
waiting Gordon Brown is in mobile phone contact. They are lining up Government
ministers to visit across Europe. David
Beckham and world footballers have appealed for help in finding their daughter
and they have received chat shows requests from Oprah Winfrey an Larry King in
Wherever they go they are treated like royalty, followed by pilgrims,
well-wishers and TV cameras. But the attention does not sit easily with them,
especially Mrs McCann. The couple are desperate for Madeleine’s plight to be
known worldwide but they are wary of going too far, of being seen as a
celebrity couple courting the publicity.
“It is all about Madeleine,” said Mr McCann. Mrs McCann, in particular,
struggles to hold in her emotions in front of TV cameras. She wants to remain
private, but she also wants to do the best for Madeleine by appearing in
“I do not like talking about this publicly but you’ve got to put your own
feelings aside,” she said.
“If we can be strong, strong for Madeleine, that will help get her back.”
On Tuesday morning Mr and Mrs McCann had to go shopping for a suit. They had to
look smart for the Pope. He and his wife spent hours trying to find something
appropriate in Algarve
resorts dominated by T-shirts and shorts.
When they did, the hems on the trousers were too long and a tailor had to make
adjustments. Ordinarily it could have been a welcome distraction, but they
found it strange to be fussing over such minor details.
“It was the last thing we needed really,” said Mrs McCann.
It re-emphasised the truth: they are a very normal couple thrown into something
Mr McCann admitted that Saturday was his lowest day since the early days - the
first time that both he and his wife have had a “bad one” together.
He said: “You have lows. It’s one of the things people do not realize. When
negatives come in and affect you, you lose some control, you’ve not got that
outlet of emotion. But you know that it’s detrimental to what you’re trying to
do today. So you try to lock out the negative.”
Mrs McCann admits she is more fragile. She said: “It’s fair to say I find it
harder to lock away the emotions.
They continue to plan, throwing themselves into it; but every moment they hope
their plans are scrapped because they receive some genuine news … the news they
are waiting for, that Madeleine has been found.
Mr McCann said: “We want Madeleine to be found … yesterday.”