Trains are running 30 minutes late due to a fatality on the line.
The other commuters hasten their weaving around each other as-if the delay urgencifies their platform dash.
As a nation we give 2 minutes still, silence, to the people who lost their lives in wars. Fatalities, deaths. Like this one they have an unattributed cause - Suicide or accident?
Was this fatality a person who’s life was
- so very painful that the thought of being smashed-into by a speeding train was a release from the pain of their life. Suicide.
- ended unexpectedly. did they slip and fall? Accident.
I watch the faces of the commuters pushing me aside in their platform rush. Coats rustling and mumbling.
I’m alone in my stillness. Taking a moments silence to mourn the fatality, person’s death, is not part of the behavioural script ‘what we do’ for commuters and station staff.
It seems like it should be a time when we should be hugging each other, wiping away each others tears, expressing our helplessness and then slowly moving on. I hug myself, wipe away a tear and turn towards the platforms.
That evening I tried to find out about the 2 people who’d died in train fatalities that day. The news reported the delays to the trains, the things that affected most people’s everyday lives. Nothing about the people who died, not even a name. Sending condolences to strangers isn’t a part of the what we do nowadays. Kay’s recent blog post had a quote from John Donne which seemed most apt:
No man is an iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee….”