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Guilt December 15, 2007

Posted by K in Abstract Ramblings, contemporary, Death, Life.
Tags: , ,

Today’s newspaper carried a story about a train that rammed into a bus carrying a lot of school children. The story struck me as tragic at many levels. Not only did 16 people die, but many of those school children would normally not have taken the bus. Their parents had banned them from cycling that day because of the fog.

I’m trying to put myself into the shoes of the mother who lost two children because she sent them by bus. What must she be feeling? How long will it be till she’s able to forgive herself? Will her decision ever stop haunting her? Will she be able to go on living?

What about the siblings of these children? Not only do they have to bear the loss of a brother or sister, they will also have to carry the pain of parents who might be too guilt-ridden to be themselves, if not forever, but atleast for a very very long time to come.

The collision occurred because the children had begged the gate keeper to let them go because they were late for their exams. I know nothing can excuse the dereliction of duty, and one would perhaps be justified in condemning his action, but that still doesn’t matter in the present, does it? What has happened has happened, wrong or right, but how is he to reconcile himself to his action?

His 11 year old daughter too got on to the bus. She, however, was miraculously saved. The guilt he must be feeling must be two-fold. Survivors guilt; what I did killed other children, not mine. Joy that his daughter was spared, and guilt immediately after.

How does one live with oneself when one has killed/hurt a near and dear one, or even a complete stranger, unintentionally?

I remember an Oprah episode about such incidences. There was a mother who had accidentally killed some of her children by falling asleep at the wheel. A grandmother who had reversed over her tiny grandson. A boy who had rammed into his mother’s car, killing her.

The worst kind of prison has to be this. Self imposed and un-relenting. If there is one thing I never wish upon anybody, it has got to be this.



1. ish - December 15, 2007

Yes, I heard about the incident. It was really sad and what you’ve said is very true also. Guilt never goes away, that mother will feel it at each and every moment of happiness and sadness in her life and so will the gatekeeper. And it’s very self destructive to say the least.

I also hope nobody has to face this situation, ever.

2. sporadicblogger - December 15, 2007

Ish- Self-destructive…that’s the word. I wonder how the shrinks go about such things…

3. Sreejith - December 16, 2007

i can only imagine the the guilt gnawing and ultimately eating one from the insides. as you said.. wouldn’t wish this on your enemies.

4. sporadicblogger - December 16, 2007

Sreejith- Yes, horrible, innit>

5. Vasudha - December 17, 2007

I have a similar problem with the whole pro-suicide-rights front.While you can agree [reluctantly] with the right of an individual to not live, since you have concede that any person HAS a right to live, the guilt negates the whole argument. Because that way, you’re directly putting the whole burden on the survivors and the guilt, and the fault.
About the bus incident, a survivor might manage to live through it, blaming it on the circumstances, but here, there’s a finger being pointed at you, in your face.Irreversibly. 😐

6. pr3rna - December 17, 2007

It was very unfortunate and sad incident Sporadic.
//How does one live with oneself when one has killed/hurt a near and dear one, or even a complete stranger, unintentionally?// can’t imagine.

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