The Dane Loakman walk yesterday in Sallins. Photo: Tony Keane
As they walked through Sallins in yesterday's dying light it's likely that some of them found what peace there may be in Max Ehrmann’s (Desiderata) silence.
Surely 1,000 people turned out for a memorial walk almost a year to the day after the death of teenager Dane Loakman.
The poignancy of the event was even more pronounced as a counterpoint to the onset of the oft-quoted Christmas rush, which began this weekend.
A couple of miles down the road in Naas, the Christmas lights were switched on and Santa arrived at the town hall around the same time as the walk got underway.
It seems that more tragedy is visited upon us at Christmas. Or maybe it’s more pronounced at this time of year as friends and families gather for the first time in twelve months.
There were two other tragedies in the Naas area at the weekend.
A young man died in an accident on the rail line between Sallins and Caragh.
Also on Saturday, a body was recovered from the Grand Canal near Naas.
The loss of life and the near unbelievable sense of sadness that these events bring cause us to reflect on what Christmas, indeed life, means.
And it should be less about the cars queued up on the way into shopping centres and less about the uncontrollable pressure to spend and spend again to make us happy.
Three local families will be without a loved one this year. These three we know about because of the circumstances of their sudden loss. Many more families are approaching Christmas without a parent, child, sibling or friend, who was here a year ago.
And while it's true that this is Dane’s family’s second Christmas without him, the first one will have passed in a blur of grief so profound that Christmas didn’t happen.
To be in Sallins on Saturday with people of all ages was to see how fragile human life is and how brutal are the immediate consequences when it is snatched away.
Sure, we give in to Christmas and its mindless commercial nonsense.
But we are compassionate too and we feel for the loss of others.
If we didn’t there is no sense to why so many gathered in Sallins.
Before the walk started Sallins Community Council chair Fergus Carpenter said he didn’t know Dane well, but he knew he was “fun, full of craic and happy out”.
Teenagers are like that and fairly carefree too. If the 16 year old could see what happened in Sallins yesterday he’d have loved it.
Not because of the heartfelt outpouring of support for his family engendered by a sudden death - he’d be too young to get that.
But he’d have knocked fair entertainment out of the fuss.
His family won’t be far from our thoughts now in the season of peace and goodwill and neither will the other two bereaved families.
Because if we learn anything from these tragedies it is that we shouldn’t be diverted by life’s many trivialities or too engaged with the irrelevant, too preoccupied with stuff.
Look out for each other.