In 33 years, I've never been face-to-face with a dead human body.
Pain in life is inevitable but suffering is not. Pain is what the world does to you, suffering is what you do to yourself [by the way you think about the 'pain' you receive].
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. [You can always be grateful that the pain is not worse in quality, quantity, frequency, duration, etc]
“Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was a prince that lived a life of luxury in his palace owned by his father. His father didn’t want his son to be distressed by the outside world so he hid away any signs of it.
But one day, Siddhartha decided to go on his chariot to see the outside world. Out there he found a holy man, a sick man, an old man, and a dead man
Each time he saw one of these people, he said “stop the chariot!” and asked what was wrong with the man. Then he went back to the palace to figure out why people were suffering.”
I’m 33 and have never seen a dead human body
What do I really know about death without having stared it in the face?
I remember sitting in my English class in 8th grade. A girl was sitting in front of me and it was completely dark, except for the flickering of the television screen.
We were mandated to watch clips of hundreds of starved bodies getting tossed around and piled into mass graves. Videos of people working hard until they died. Families separated and individual people tortured, many burned alive.
This was shown to us everyday for Holocaust remembrance week.
I was 14 years old.
Ten years later I visited a work camp in southern Germany. It was a drizzly and overcast day as my friends and I walked silently through the holding, shower and cremation rooms of the place. It was a sight to behold.
It was impossible for me to imagine the horrors that went on here, but I knew exactly what happened here. It was drilled into me during middle school. I’ve seen the dead bodies that filled these rooms. I could close my eyes and see them.
Such evil horrors.
These days, when I turn on the television, I see piles of recently dead bodies, stabbings, shootings, people on fire, explosions, religious warfare in all corners of the world – and that’s just the afternoon local news!
“Next up is weather and sports. But first, 300+ people exploded during religious services.”
Shootings where 20+ people are killed in a single event seems to be a norm these days.
Death through mutilation is non-stop and people love putting it on the Screen and showing it to others.
Speaking of, the only time that I got close to seeing a dead person was when I was an intern at at a local 24-hour new station in Orlando.
I was riding around in the News Station satellite van, to a drowned body found in a city lake.
“You ever see a drowned body, kid?” the camera man asked me.
“I’ve never seen a dead body” I told him, as he cocked his head and stared wildly at me.
“What?! You’re kidding? Wow.” He was shocked.
“Well, after a while, the bodies turn blue and they get super bloated. You’re in for a treat.” He continued, getting the gear ready.
I can’t say I was thrilled about this. I could easily carry on with my day without seeing it.
We got there and set up, but couldn't get close enough because of the yellow police tape. All I ended up seeing was the blanket over the body.
Movies and Video Games
I have seen everything that could possibly be done to the human body in Hollywood movies and video games.
Final Destination movies, Purge series, Saw 1-15, Hostel, A Serbian Film, Avengers, Saving Private Ryan, etc etc etc.
The human race has a fetish to talk about and watch ourselves die, in any way and form possible. We are killing each other at record numbers, in more efficient ways than ever before. We love death and killing one another. We love seeing actual footage as well as rendered computer images.
Why is there so much filth out there?
I’m asking myself how it’s possible that I have seen so much death on a Screen, but as a 33 year old, I’ve escaped seeing an actual lifeless human body in all this time.
I met my great grandparents and lived around another grandma who turned 95.
However, the only funeral I’ve ever attended was my grandpa's closed casket ceremony in high school. The pastor asked if her and I wanted to see him in private.
“I recommend against it. Keep him in mind as you remember him.” He told us, as we stood in front of the casket.
And that’s what we did. We left our memories of him untouched by the sight of his lifeless body.
It was a beautiful ceremony.
Since then, I’ve attended one celebration of life event in my mid 20’s where I didn't know the woman, and her body was not at the ceremony.
Several people I've met over the years have died. One of my best friends has been to more than a dozen funerals, ranging from family members, friends, co-workers and acquaintances.
There has been death all around me, but I have never seen a lifeless human body.
My mind has never seen itself still and dead in a human meat suit.
My friend David
David recently moved to Buffalo, after being an EMT, ambulance driver and Firefighter in South Florida.
Whenever I talk with him, it’s incredible the amount of pain, suffering, and death he deals with on a daily basis.
He is now an RN in the ER and is constantly studying and learning to become the best at what he does.
As I am writing this in my bedroom, essentially working from bed, he is at work dealing with sick and dying folks; death around every corner. I am so far removed from the life he is living and has experienced.
“Keep it that way” he always tells me, “there is nothing to be gained from seeing so much death.”
He has seen all age ranges of dead bodies. He has seen the body in ways that I have only seen on television and movie screen.
It would be extremely sickening and vulgar for me to go into details of his daily life. He is a brave and strong man for dealing with the realities of life that people like me will not and do not deal with. There are many of him out there, and I thank you all for doing the hard work that you do.
Death is a multi-trillion dollar industry, and there are many death professionals who work in the field.
I’ve been to cemeteries around the world and I love them!
When I took the first road trip in the big blue bus, Rhode Island was the last state I needed to set foot in to have seen all 50.
I looked at the GPS, found a green spot on the map, and drove there.
Green spots usually meant city or state parks, natural land. Usually there was free parking there for me.
I found myself outside of a huge, lusciously green cemetery. It was gorgeous!
I parked alongside the street right outside of the entrance gates. I’ve never slept better.
The most beautiful one I have been to was in Zurich, Switzerland. Old trees, ornamental stones, beautiful flowers, tight hillsides and beautiful landscaping.
I’ve walked through old overgrown Appalachia mountain cemeteries along the Appalachian Trail.
“Here lies Baby 1 and Baby 2” read one tomb stone from the mid 1800’s.
Visiting the above ground tombs in New Orleans was a treat.
Cemeteries take up an incredible amount of space on Earth. It seems that we cherish the afterlife more than we care about actually being alive.
At a point a few years ago, I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and manic depression. I have had suicidal thoughts for most of my life. Through therapy I was able to clear my head and move on, not struggling with depression but working through it.
If I had committed suicide, I would have been the first dead body I never got to see. Is that a sad tragedy or a happy ending?
Overcoming my emotions, I have arrived exactly where I need to be in life. I feel that I have a decent understanding of death, and I welcome it whenever it knocks on my door.
I am not afraid of dying, I am vastly more afraid of living.
Still, I continually vow to myself to feel alive as much as possible, to enjoy the moments I am experiencing now.
So, with the understanding that life must end in death, I am not ignorant to the fact that someday my body will be dead and found by someone, a person such as my friend David.
I will be cremated, scattered and freed of bodily constraints in order to continue on with my universal journey.
How many more years until I have to face a dead body?