An Ending Too Early
On May 16, 2002 our family embarked on a mini vacation to California to attend the wedding of my cousin. In the early hours of Friday morning, just miles from the station in Chico California, our train came to a screeching halt as a young man’s life abruptly came to an end. We will never know if it was a suicide or a tragic accident. What we do know is that it deeply affected our family.
Everyday we assist families who are suffering from a devastating loss. We were shocked at the rarity of this accident, and also reminded that life is fragile and a struggle for some.
We were amazed at the reactions on the train that early morning. There were different reactions from every type of passenger. Many were angered for being delayed for nearly three hours and remarked at how inconvenienced they were; others simply wished it had happened to the next train to come by. Teenagers gawked and rushed about the cars trying to catch a glimpse of the deceased like the event was just a scene from a movie they had seen before. Business travelers accustomed to sleeping upright, quietly woke up to access the situation that was out of their control and then simply drifted back to sleep. The crew reaction was the most sterile of all remarking that “It’s just a part of the job, these things happen all the time.”
My wife and I held hands and each whispered a prayer to the departing soul that we knew was still in the presence of these reactions.
Family members and friends who we shared that event with created the following two submissions. It felt important enough to share their words with you here.
Editor, GW Newsletter
A Planned Trip
By Pat Schwiebert
We are on a planned trip: three young grandchildren,
4 parents and 2 grandparents-on a train ride
that’s destination speaks of a family celebration.
Strangers smiled, chatted idly, read, gazed out windows or slept,
as we enjoyed our total togetherness, so seldom experienced in everyday life.
Then without warning in the early AM
as our little ones were sleeping curled around us,
A young stranger, standing in front of our train, ends his life.
Purposeful or testing an immortality theory
We’ll never know for sure.
Our train, without consent, became a
Some were awakened by the jolting of the cars
soon to hear the disturbing news.
No wails. No sirens. But surely death.
Cell phone sounds broke the night silence
With angry calls to waiting friends.
Lives disrupted by a “thoughtless kid.”
Others slept on untouched by the gravity of the moment.
Not much to say,
We didn’t know him
We didn’t know what urged him to say “no” to life.
But there’s a sense of knowing he was one of ours.
Our children in their youth saw futility in their lives.
Our children made dangerous choices.
They are through that now…busy trying to be good parents.
But as their parent, I’ll never forget.
Somewhere in the night parents will awaken with the news that their child is dead.
I will grieve for them and consider the lessons.
What other “ Death Machines” are our young ones waiting to jump in front of?
By Gigi Galluzzo
Consider his conflict as he decided to meet the train.
He must have suffered immeasurable pain.Life is a choice throughout all of the strain.
He shut his door and turned the pageHe longed for release from his miserable rage.
The boy was young with so much ahead.He viewed his life as nothing but dread.
Please don’t condemn this tormented soul.
Love him, even after he’s met his goal.
He ceased to exist and lost sight of his soul.
Life is hard, and no one is perfect.
He is now in the hands of God!
© 2002 Gigi Galluzzo