It’s been a long day. You’ve been up since the crack of dawn and all you want to do is get home as soon as you can and chill out. You’re feeling hot, stuffy and the last thing you need is an over crowded train journey home. You want a thirty five minute commute home, and a stress free, quiet chilled one at that.
This is me, and many others every single day after work.
Then you hear the words over the tannoy, echoing out across all five platforms.
“Due to a fatality on the tracks, this train has been delayed by…”
The crowds offer a tsunami of sighs, followed by a few F bombs and people looking at the time in disgust at how anyone could be so selfish to do this to them. How could anyone be so rude to cause so much disruption at this time of day? The cheek of the person. We all have problems, we all have stressful lives and we all now will be late to get home too.
Now lets take just a minute to pause.
Yes, we will be late home, it has been a long day and yes, we probably will now miss the first twenty minutes of Bake Off. What a pain! In your worry and stress, how much time have you given to the poor person who felt life was just too much to handle that they couldn’t carry on? A minute? Thirty seconds? Or that one second, where your initial thought upon hearing the news was panic and rage for your own selfish reasons of things not going your way?
This person, minutes after death, will be spoken about, ridiculed and tutted about throughout journeys, on social media and spoken about as if they were an inconvenience. Texts and tweets will be sent calling the person selfish, an idiot and jokes will be made that they could have waited an hour or so. A life was lost and in an instant all they have become is a statistic and an inconvenience. Not once has anybody thought about what pushed this person so far to the edge where they thought about ending their own life in such an awful way. Who has thought about the family who will have to get that call and eventually identify the body? What about the poor driver of the train, who so badly wished they could stop the train in time but had no control? What about the staff at the station who, whilst we all moan, shake our fists at and demand refunds from, are all dealing with the pressures of their own jobs but now are also dealing with a fatality at their place of work.
That announcement of your train being delayed is much more than an inconvenience to your journey.
There were 237 rail track related suicides last year. Shockingly, a decrease from years before. The decrease comes from rail staff working closely with the Samaritans, who offers courses to teach members of staff on what to do and say to a person who may be looking vulnerable. The Samaritans stress that talking and sharing is the first action in saving the life of someone close to a situation of this nature.
We must do better in situations where we hear about incidents of suicide. Yes, it affects our evenings for an hour or so when we want to get home and yes, it may make us late for an event, but please remember those who are really effected. The next time your train is delayed for this reason, take thirty seconds to remember that person positively. You didn’t know them, but surely they deserve a prayer or a moments silence, even if it is just personally from you.
They deserve respect now that they have found their peace.