Sometimes the accounts of your brilliant and vivid memories conjure up a host of memories of my own. The talk of someone’s death is always a trigger for the many personal losses we feel and the memories they evoke. Perhaps even more so on this ‘Remembrance Sunday’, when we recall all those who fought for what they believed in an died as a consequence.
My own memories of death almost always take me back to those (far too many) individuals who sometimes literally ‘died in my arms’, or at least when I was the only one there to comfort them in their dying moments.
Quite often my memories take me back to the events prior to their deaths, when I question whether there was anything else I could do for them, to ease their physical, psychological or emotional pain whilst they were still alive. Some of these were what were described as ‘natural’ deaths and could not have been prevented, no matter what was done. However, many of them were suicides, where there seemed to be so much that ‘should’ have been done and maybe ‘could’ have been done if we only lived in a more kind, caring and morally accountable society.
There are so many sad deaths I recall, but the one which always springs to mind when I relapse into this melancholy memory mood, is the lovely lady who ended her life by jumping in front of a train.
She did this entirely out of ‘love’ for her family, who not only did not reciprocate her feelings, but they made her feel that she was unwanted, unloved, and they wished she did not exist.
Needless to say, I felt that she was ‘pushed’ into committing suicide and I said as much in my evidence to the coroner. I also penned a poem as a eulogy to someone who epitomised the concept of ‘laying down one’s life for love’.
DID SHE JUMP OR WAS SHE PUSHED?
Someone near did die today
but who was it took her life away.
The lady’s greatest love in life
was as a mother and a wife.
Once these precious things were gone
why would she want to linger on.
As her world turned upside down
her sweetest smile turned to a frown.
This lady didn’t want for much
a little love – a tender touch.
A kind word whispered in her ear
from her family held so dear
Her wish for love was oh! So strong
without which, life was simply wrong.
From family she just could not part
so sadly died with broken heart.
This lady always said to me
marriage was her destiny.
The last line of the marriage vow
led to where she is right now.
Those words resounded in her heart
nothing less than death us part.
Her family said she could not stay
so, who really took her life away.
One of her family even said
‘They’ may be better – if she was dead.
So, from her family came a shove
towards her final act of love.
An age-old question comes to mind
the answer’s always hard to find.
As that train on mainline swooshed
did she jump – or was she pushed?
B. Withers 2009.
(in ‘Contemplation’ pp 68)