A suicide on the rails

I apologise for any typos or lack of coherent thought in this post. I am typing this in a short space of time as I try to gather my thoughts. Last night all the trains on the line I use to get home were heavily disrupted. The reason was because a person was hit by a train; in all likelihood, a suicide. This is a reasonably common occurrence on this line. I delayed leaving work and stayed a few hours late (having arrived a couple of hours early in the morning), but managed to get home in a reasonable time. As usual, I buried my head in a book on my commute. Only this time, what I was reading was resonating with my surroundings. The section of the book I got to was a long suicide note. I haven’t yet finished it, but I couldn’t help but overhear the chatter on the train.

There were phrases used like “inconsiderate behaviour” or “thoughtless act” and all I could think was this: which is more inconsiderate: to end one’s life or to not care as to the reasons and circumstances why someone might do it. I don’t know the person’s identity, so I don’t know if I ever knew them. But I have had friends attempt suicide before, some unsuccessful, some successful. Today there is most probably a family grieving and friends wondering what signs they missed, digging through their memories in search of a reason.

When we have no direct connection with another human being it becomes far easier to be judgemental (not that it’s particularly hard, otherwise) and to treat them as something other than a valued individual. This is something J. B. Priestley in his play, An Inspector Calls. There may 1, 2, a dozen or hundreds of people I pass by every day who may be in a very dark place yet managing to mask it, while inwardly crying out for someone to understand them, to accept them, to love them.

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2 responses to “A suicide on the rails

  1. I just spent two hours with the family of a suicide victim; they are digging around for a reason, trying to find some sense in a mess which they feel they should have been able to love away.. I don't want to diss commuting culture, its a very hard existence, but it does lend itself to the idea that somehow people should just get over it.. in reality I wonder if it is painfully close to people who if they stopped for long enough, might find their own lives are empty too.. Narky comments just helps to keep it all at a distance.

  2. I also get very cross with the bitching about the person who jumped. "Selfish" is a word used quite often. I wonder, if we were all a little less selfish and a little more open, whether people would feel that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. I could weep for the grief and wasted life of people who are so caught up in their depression/ issues that they can't see solutions; the people who fear 'financial disgrace' so much that dying becomes a rational choice. Sorry, bit of an end-of-day ramble. Jude's phrase 'a mess which they feel they should have been able to love away' is one that resonates deeply with me.