She started crying as she walked up to the big white space on the side of our bus. It’s a memorial to the people that have died. “We are asking people to write the names of loved ones that have taken their own lives,” I said. “So they can come with us on our battling suicide tour.” She kind of pushed the hair out of her face with her wrist, holding the marker.
“I wish he was going with you,” she said. “He would of liked that.”
6,000 is the tip of the iceberg
We were eating at La Latina, a big double decker bus Colombian food place. A man walked over. He was on the other side of the road when he saw the bus spin in.
“My brother killed himself last year,” he said. “I saw the bus and thought I’d come and see what it’s all about.”
This has happened a lot already. We hadn’t even left Cambridge yet.
We sat and ate fried plantain. Another guy came over.
“You see that name, Chloe, that someone has written on your bus?” He said. “She was my girlfriend when we were really young. I knew she had left town, but I never thought she would kill herself.”
Suicide is mystery to so many. So misunderstood. If someone gets hit by a car or slips down the stairs, the world is no less cruel, but it’s far more simple.
After a few hours in the bus, at the Meadows Community Centre and at La Latina, it magnitude of this tour started to come into focus. If there’s an average of 5,000 people taking their own lives for the past ten years, that’s 50,000 dead. Imagine each of those people effects just 100 people. That’s 5 million. It’s usually way more, when you think the average person has 1,000 facebook friends.
We spent yesterday at the Foyer in Braintree. Here’s a linkedIN post to explain more, with a video of the day by the brilliant Mark who runs this brilliant place.