Life on the Edge
During his journey of making himself whole again, Keith Lane has saved the lives of over 30 people in his years of patrolling the cliffs of Beachy Head, the third most popular suicide location in the world.
The police visited a man named Keith Lane, at his residence, to deliver terrible news. Having an idea of what it might be, and as a form of self-denial, he tried to distract himself by offering the officers a cup of tea or something to eat. The feeling of emptiness and hopelessness overwhelmed him, as they pressed him to sit down for a “talk.” He knew the inevitable was coming – his wife, Maggie, had died at Beachy Head.
As Keith makes his latest visit to the site, we see gray skies, a vantage point of a steep drop to a rocky beach, and various crosses stuck into the ground, as remembrance for the souls that were lost at the cliffs of Beachy Head, Eastbourne. Maggie’s, cross is a small wooden one, painted in silver, which he sands down and paints over with the same color.
When he first visited the scene, after hearing the tragic news, he tried to grapple with what just happened. During his reflection, he saw a young woman sitting on a bench and writing a note with a stream of tears coming down her face. After a faulty start in engaging the young woman in a conversation, they finally exchanged their stories and he told her that what she was about to do was not the way to go. She then ran – she was extremely fast – but he rugby tackled her just in time and held onto her as the police arrived because they were looking for her.
The young girl struggled to not be taken away in the police car and at that moment, with both Keith and girl crying, he looked her in the eyes and offered that he would go to the police station with her, if she agreed to go. The looks they exchanged, reminded Keith of the eyes of his late wife. If someone like Keith was at Beachy Head when Maggie was thinking about suicide, she might have been alive today. This event started his self-assigned duty to patrol the cliffs on a regular basis.