Thoughts on a suicide

Further to my recent post about being on a train that hit and killed a man at Northallerton, and the callous response of some of my fellow passengers, I would like to advise them to read this article on the York Press website.

If they do so, they will quickly discover his name was Andrew Palmer, and that he was a former teacher, a volunteer with a conservation charity, and evidently not the selfish idiot they were so quick to proclaim him.

One colleague remembered Andrew as "a kind, hard-working, considerate person who would do anything for anybody. He was a gentle soul."

"He was a warm person," said another. "Really well-liked by everybody."

A third described him as "a warm and kind person who was always willing to help. He always seemed to have a smile for people and was very cheery.  He will be sadly missed."

Why Andrew decided to end his life, I don't know - an inquest has been opened - but it is desperately sad that he did.  Almost as sad is that people who knew nothing of his circumstances or personality were happy to condemn and judge him so thoughtlessly.  I'm sure with hindsight they would retract their comments.

[Footnote - further to the comment posted by Jan below, the blog post written by a friend of the girl who saw the train hit Andrew can be found here.]


Anonymous said…
Hi Liam, my name is Jan. Don't ask me how I've stumbled across your post (and thoughtful poem) on the 'net - call it fate? I guess I was (and still am) looking for answers as to why Andrew chose to take his own life.
I am a Director of a company that Andrew attended an interview for a job just the day before he lost his life. A second interview, that lasted 2 hours and ended with such promise. I'm told he appeared happy, relaxed, and had much to look forward to in life. When he left our office on the Wednesday afternoon we said we would contact him the next morning, giving him time to 'sleep on it' and us to, mainly as he would be commuting from York to Lancashire. We found out that he rang the agency right from outside our building to say he felt very positive and favoured working for us, although he had received another offer, so wanted to wait until the morning. The next morning Thursday 21st June, he couldn't be reached via any of the usual methods these days; his father replied to an email 4 days later, briefly advising of the tragic loss but we had no details other than a 'fatal accident'. How extremely sad that whatever was troubling him, it was too much for him to bear or share, and seek support.
Andrew never knew he had got the job with us. Would it have made any difference?.. I doubt it. We don't know if he left a note or any clue to answer the question/s that his distraught family and loved ones must still seek the answer to. Perhaps the coronor's report may have further information when it is released? We did contact them in case they needed any further information, but, I shudder when I think of it, they have everything on CCTV. The poor 18 year old female who was the single, only, witness to such a tragic event will take the vision with her the rest of her life.She spoke of the event and tragic details to her young friend, who also has posted on her tumblr blog.
I feel certain that Andrew left his York home that morning with a resolute purpose and was unaware of anyone around him. It is some comfort that a fellow human being, such as yourself, who never knew Andrew, but for a moment became part of his timeline, had compassion for a lost soul and was not afraid to say so. Thank you.
Dear Jan, thanks so much for your message. I can't comprehend what must have been going through Andrew's mind, but it's awful that he thought this was the solution. Awful for his family too, and dreadful for the poor girl sitting at Northallerton station, not to mention the train driver. I spoke to the train guard afterwards, and she told me it was the second time it had happened to him. I only hope the Samaritans/Network Rail campaign is successful, and that more people get help before it's too late.

Best wishes,