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This is a question Have you ever seen a dead body?

How did you feel?
Upset? Traumatised? Relieved? Like poking it with a stick?

(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 9:34)
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I'm a doctor.
I've seen fucking loads.
You get used to it after a while (you have to, else you'd go mad), but never completely used to it (the moment I stop getting that lump in my throat every time somebody dies is the moment I leave medicine).

Certifying old people dead is momentous, because you are putting the final full-stop on a life that has seen so much. It is an honour to have that responsibility.

Being present at the death of a child is nothing short of devastating, and no matter how hard you try it is impossible not to be affected. I used to work on a cancer unit, and the utter unwavering bravery of children who were terminally ill never ceases to humble me.
Can you imagine helping a 14 year old choose songs she wanted playing at her funeral on a Saturday, and then being there as she takes her final breath on the Sunday? After she has told you that she was sad that she'd never go grey or have kids or get married?

A dead body is just a thing. An inanimate object. Such a contrast with the living, and when you are present at the moment when the living become the dead, you wonder how the fuck people can so willingly kill others.

Sorry, a maudlin post. I blame Friday and a lack of sleep. Tonight I shall have a beer, kick the cat, and rejoice in the company of those I love.

EDIT: Though the body I had for my dissection classes didn't feel like a human at all. The formaldehyde stinks and turns the whole body into a grey leathery clammy thing. The foot hadn't been properly preserved and had fungus growing on it. When we sawed the top of the skull off we all ended up with the gritty feeling of powdered skull in our mouths. We called him "Big Vern" because he had a monstrous penis (like a baby's arm). By all accounts he was quite a character when alive, and we raised several glasses to him when the dissection year was over.
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 12:48, 12 replies)
brave kids
I've always though it was a load of bollocks to say that terminal kids are brave. Do they really have the same sense of mortality as adults? I think they adapt and get used to the idea much more easily. Choosing funeral songs becomes more like choosing a new dress for a party. If they're traumatized at all, I expect it would be from the reactions of the adults around them.

I was 35 before I started to give mortality any thought. Knowing I was about to die would kill me. But as a kid, would have thought it was pretty cool (all my friends missing me etc.)
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 13:19, closed)
Sorry but I have to disagree with frankspencer. I became shockingly aware of my own mortality at the age of about 9 ( I watched some depressing fire safety video at Brownies and thought my entire family were going to be burned alive that night) - I'm 26 now and the sinking feeling I get when I realise anew that this is the one life I get hasn't changed since that night so I think kids can be very aware of what death means and therefore can be incredibly brave ( i wasn't brave about it at all btw- total wuss, cried for about 3 days!)
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 13:43, closed)
I can
see where Mr Spencer is coming from, but on balance I'd say he is talking bollocks. I can remember the day I realised my dad would die (oh fuck) and 2.5 seconds later realising I'd die (oh fuck fuck fuck). I was about 6.

Of course being a child prodigy, I was able to under stand the implications of mortality in a way most of my peers couldn't, but I think the point stands.
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 13:53, closed)
I can see Frankspencer's point,
but I disagree.

I looked after one young lad, 16 years old with an incurable lung sarcoma. He was admitted in extremis one night with pneumonia and was begging me (literally offering me his entire worldly goods) to keep him alive long enough for him to go abroad to see the home of his forefathers.

Thankfully we managed to get him over this infection, was discharged, and he fulfilled his dream.
A couple of months later he was admitted, and he knew he was going to die. This time, he was prepared, and had fulfilled everything he had wished to. He shook my hand, and I left him with his relatives. Later that evening the relatives pushed the call button and I went into his room to pronounce him dead.

He knew exactly what mortality was, and how precious life is. He also exhibited bravery and maturity that I can only hope to have a fraction of when my time is nigh.
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 14:04, closed)
I'm with Ring of Fire on this
Between the ages of 5 and 8, I'd regularly cry myself to sleep, repeating "I don't want to die" to myself. I knew my parents would die one day, and therefore that I would too. It absolutely terrified me.

I'm more accepting of it now.
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 14:05, closed)
who throws a shoe, honestly?
and whilst we're on random questions, who can blah blah blah one minute about kids dying being sad, and then admit to being cruel to animals?

Are you sure you're not a monster? Cats beat kids hands down any day.. u dont have to clean up after cats the way you do with kids.
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 14:32, closed)
i can remember
when i was about 8, and my mam walked into my room and i was crying.
She asked why and i said i dont want to die, really wierd.
i think it might have been because of my grandad passing away :(.
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 14:32, closed)
All very interesting, but...
I'm sure child psychologists would tell you that younger children all have death anxiety. I remember telling my parents not to buy me Xmas presents because in the long run it was all futile. I was 8.

But I'm not sure that's the same as knowing for sure that you're going to die and putting your life in that mortal context - they have no life experience as such. Their horizons don't extend further than school and their earliest memories- not enough context for existentialist angst.

I'll concede that adolescents of around 16 can probably see the bigger picture, but a lot of this 'bravery' stuff is adult projection on to the young (who mirror what they see without necessarily feeling it.)

I should say that I am neither a psychologist, doctor or expert of any kind. Just a smart-arse blabbermouth.
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 14:34, closed)
"I remember telling my parents not to buy me Xmas presents because in the long run it was all futile"

made me chuckle
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 14:46, closed)
...."Kick the cat" is a phrase meaning to find a release for tension, nothing more. Don't take it literally. I have no intention of kicking my cat.

EDIT: In my case, it will probably mean having a wank.
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 15:27, closed)
Without death there can be no life.
One cannot exist without the other.

If you were going to die in an hour what would you do?
A complete person would do nothing. Maybe make a cup of tea
Make your list and do it.
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 15:30, closed)
i'd have to disagree with frankspencer
if you'd spent your entire childhood in and out of hospitals, having dangerous and, for the most part, entirely experimental surgery, not to mention hearing your mother screaming at your father "but it could kill her!", you'd soon develop a deep sense of your own mortality. i dealt with all of my death issues at an early age, which is why it doesn't bother me now.
(, Sun 2 Mar 2008, 1:36, closed)

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