After my last blog I basked in the warm glow of the comments; so happy it had brought about joy, upliftedness and my favourite word: Serendipity, with all its connotations of calm and serene chance.
Please don't turn away. I can't pretty this up, but stay with me. All is not despair.
Yesterday I returned from another trip across the Pennines; another difficult visit to see my Dad. Shortly after leaving the station I heard the train driver sound his horn. We then braked heavily as we came to a sudden and unscheduled stop. Just beyond a charming country station with its stone-built bridge and bucolic anonymity, somebody decided to take their own life.
Amid the eerie calm that followed, the tactful announcement in a most British way, sanitised the truth. But we knew. I made a tearful phone call. I heard the young woman behind me complain on her phone that she couldn't get off for a fag. I felt angry at her selfishness but after a while realised that she didn't yet know as her headphones had muffled the commotion. I also overheard her tell that her phone battery was running low. Something made me want to override what I felt, and I offered her my phone-charger from my suitcase. She thanked me gratefully.
The emergency services arrived and worked efficiently whilst we sat in a strange limbo, by the little stone-built bridge.
After asking the conductor how she might get home, I heard the young lady with the blue hair speak from the seat behind and realised she was talking to me. I turned to look through the seats and a conversation like no other unfolded itself. She was struggling with anxiety, she told me, had suffered from depression and her own life had been touched by suicide.
Far from being self-centred, she tried her best to be there for others who might be struggling. Her seeming insouciance belying her experience and caring soul. I said such events are all the more reason for us all to help one another on this life's journey. She agreed and told me that she tries not to judge as one never knows what another person is going through. Yet had I been quick to judge?
Our conversation deepened and we connected. She asked if she might tag along at the next station where we would eventually have to change. Again – me providing an anchor in uncertainty?
After a couple of hours of sitting in that quiet little valley, beside the stone-built bridge, all those who must tend to such situations finished their work. A replacement driver made the 10-minute walk along the track and we continued our journey.
At the next station, my fellow traveller and I negotiated unfamiliarity together and boarded the next train. We stood mostly in companionable silence; occasionally talking. I told her how proud she must feel of herself for coping as she had done. She said she would never have managed without me. I think she would have and replied that probably we're all more capable than we give ourselves credit for.
I could tell she was having trouble quelling her anxiety as we reached our destination and she rushed off down the platform, but not before turning to me and thanking me so much for everything today.
I haven't completely processed all that happened yet. The driver must be devastated. The emergency services were magnificent. The loneliness and despair which some poor soul felt - I wish I could have helped them. The vulnerability we just don't see behind words, actions or appearances and the depth to which people can connect.
Thank you for not turning away.
A Moodscope member.