It’s a question I clearly remember asking myself 1987 and again in 1988 and 1989. I was a Police Officer involved in the Kings Cross Fire in which 27 people died, followed by the Clapham Rail Disaster in which 35 people died and finally in 1989 when the Marchioness sank killing 51 people.
The Clapham Rail Disaster was particularly poignant to me as my team set up and managed the temporary mortuary for the victims in a hall near to the crash site. We cleared the hall of tables, chairs etc, so that we had a clear floor area to lay the bodies out and work around them.
We dealt with 31 bodies brought in, in body bags, large plastic zip up bags. Initially the bodies inside the bags were placed in rows across the floor. Working in pairs we then searched the clothing of each body to find and establish their identity at the same time as taking a description.
It was at this moment that I was profoundly struck by the realisation that we had 31 people of all ages, sizes, sexes and backgrounds for whom the clock had stopped. It was obvious that they had had places to go, things to do, people to see. I was left reeling that life had just stopped, all those hopes and dreams and futures gone.
Looking back I am clear that I resolved to make a change in how I was living my life, knowing the fragility of life and that I only had this very moment. Nothing else is certain. This realisation was compounded by the further event of the Marchioness disaster where again the clock had stopped for so many.
I began choosing to change my life to be what I wanted it to be, with whom I wanted to be with, doing what I wanted to do. In the following years I divorced, remarried to a fabulous partner who shares my perception of life and have two more wonderful children.
I want to convey to you the insight I was given in 1987 by asking;
When you travel to work each day are you going where you want to go to be with the people you want to be with?
When you travel home after work are you going to where you want go to be with people you want to be with?
If you answer in the affirmative then I am delighted for you, well done indeed.
However, if like so many you answered no to either or both questions then I must ask:-
What is your purpose of working where you do, could you be happier, more fulfilled, more successful, richer perhaps somewhere else. What stops you form chasing that positive outcome? Lack of self belief? lack of support? Lack of perceived opportunity?
Are you travelling home with a reluctance in your heart? Shouldn’t you be entitled to a warm, supportive and comforting home?
And so are you seizing the moment? Treating today as a new start? Reaching out to the life you want and in all probability deserve?
Not much more to say, except we are here and can categorically help you to get where you want to be