Last week, I saw my first dead body.
I’ve never seen one before. It wasn’t in an open casket at a funeral, nor a close relative before the undertaker removes them – neither of the obvious ways you’d expect to see your first. No, mine was a suicide, the self-imposed death of a complete stranger who for whatever reason that made his life so unbearable, took his own.
I was travelling as an observer in a police squad car for the evening. As a writer of crime novels, it’s important I keep up to date with process and procedure as well as technology. But on this particular dark, wet winter’s night, no procedure nor technology could take away the despair that was almost tangible when we first arrived at the scene. Sat all alone, slumped in the driver’s seat of his car, was the body of a male in the prime of his life. He looked peaceful, like he’d fallen asleep. Sadly, he will never wake again, never wake to tell his family why. It was a lonely spot he chose to leave the world from.
While I write about fictitious death and crime, it was sobering to see the grim reality of it in action. Yes, it was by his own hand, but the crime to me was that it actually happened at all, that he felt it was the only feasible option.
I urge you to give someone you love a kiss and a hug, check in with them, see if they are OK. And if you feel such a strong pull to leave us, there are many places that offer support. No one will laugh at you, no one will call you crazy, but a friendly and understanding ear could be all you need to change your mind.
Stick around, we like having you here.
I’ve barely stopped thinking about that night, though I’m sure I will eventually. Unlike his family, I expect.
Look after yourselves and your loved ones.
Posted: Thursday 27 June 2019