I would like to relate to you something that happened to me in July of this year. I will transcribe my story exactly as I wrote it the day after the event.

Well this afternoon I saw a young lad take his own life by lying on a railway track.

He couldn’t have been very old 16/17 perhaps. I saw him standing at the gates waiting for the all clear to cross, he did appear a little agitated but I didn’t really take much notice as I was sitting in my car waiting for the train to pass. Then as the whistle blew he made his way to the centre of the track, lay down, sat up again to see if the train was coming, then calmly lay down again. The train was then upon him and he was thrown to the side of the track on impact, very bloodied limbs askew. The train stopped as soon as it could, but there was nothing that the driver could have done. There was a guy in a car next to me who was very badly affected and got out of his car and threw up. He could not bring himself to even look in the boy’s direction. He came to me and said he had to go. I said he should stay and talk to the police, he in tears said he couldn’t but gave me his name and number then very hurriedly left the scene. By this time the driver of the train, who was very upset was standing on the track and calling essential services. I had a blanket in my car so I asked him to cover what he could of the boy. I then sat and waited for the police to arrive.

I just felt so helpless at not being able to get to this lad. I do not know if he was killed instantly or if there was anything that I could have done in those last few minutes of his life to have helped in any way.

It took nearly an hour before I could leave the scene by the time the police, accident investigation, ambulance and railway personnel arrived and I retold by story over and over again.

There were two comments made by people at the scene that really stuck with me, the guy from the railways said that this was the 6th suicide by train that had happened that week. And a constable said to me (because I work in palliative care) seeing the suicide probably wouldn’t affect me as much as it would those who had never dealt with death before.

Now dealing with people dying of terminal disease, and people, especially young people taking their lives because of not being able to get the help they need in no way make dealing with unnecessary death easier.

I guess this is another side to suicides, those strangers who are involved. Those people who just have to get on with their lives without any assistance – without knowing the causes, the effects and all the other aspects involved with suicides. I know I often wonder about this boy. Did he have family and friends, was there a medical reason, was he high on drugs, was it spur of the moment or did he plan it in advance. These are questions that for me are never going to be answered, as my involvement stopped once my statement was given. I have had no contact from anyone since it happened.

I have probably rambled on long enough and I don’t know if I can be of any assistance to your organization. I am happy to send a donation if you can give me an address and if you feel that I can be of any help please let me know.

Thank you for allowing me to get this off my chest.

I wish you success in your endeavours