October 13, 2014 at 4:30 pm #26798
Thanks for always injecting some much needed reality into these things.October 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm #26808
Keep praying my Brother!October 13, 2014 at 11:20 pm #26860
When I was little, I saw my uncle die in hospital from emphysema. I could not handle the sound of him not being able to breath. I fainted. After that, it was people that died in vehicle accidents.
I think if you see death often, and how in a second, people can make the decision to pull the trigger, you learn to appreciate life. Then the silly things that bothered you before, does not matter. The real life things matter.
I’ve seen camera footage of a people being shot. I’ve looked into peoples eyes that has been shot, people that has been tortured for four hours. Cable ties cutting into their skin. Almost no blood circulation to their hands.Waiting for the ambulance. I will never forget their eyes.
Also the faces of people that has just witnessed someone dying. Over the years my friends in the police force will come to my house for a few minutes, in silence. I’ve learned to give them space. Give them some water or tea. It is the sadness of the family members that gets to them.October 14, 2014 at 9:15 am #26887
Great discussion. Leopard, thanks for the reality check. This here is well worth watching and absolutely fits this topic.
Alea iacta est ("The die has been cast")October 14, 2014 at 12:07 pm #26903
I had a heart attack back on The 4th of July this year…
“Died” on the Cath-Lab table; for how long- no one will say.
I always thought I had “seen” death in my life experiences- from cancer patients/family- soldiers and car accidents to beloved pets and farm animals to slaughter- but those instances were just “active watching”. “Participating” in death is when you either “know” or become actively involved in the whole procedure.
Could I tell a yarn of great struggle and of iconic acceptance to a fate guaranteed to us all in some form or fashion in our fated futures..? I’m sure I could; everyone likes a good story and as Americans we love to hear that our hopes and dreams don’t stop at mediocrity. But… No; of course I won’t- what’s been noted in our esteemed host’s blog/forum is quite accurate. For me- I see things a bit differently:
If things during the HA “death” had continued…
If I had been only 10 years earlier- succumbing to a heart attack with technology 10 years behind…
If I had been in the wrong place at the wrong time; at home or pulled over at the side of the road in my car…
As it stands- I passed this mortal coil briefly and oddly enough, incredibly easily.
Time didn’t stop. There was no “doorway”. I didn’t have my life flash before my eyes.
I laid on a hospital slab, surrounded by people who cared but with a detachment reserved for those who I’m sure dealt with life and death on an hourly basis greater than my own: And if not for a wallet, a name pin and some printed information…
I would have died in abject anonymity and pitiful silence.
Selco is correct- you don’t walk away from the noted permanence of death- whether you’ve witnessed it or participated/cheated it- without being changed. Once, twice- a hundred times and if you’re not obviously affected by it immediately; time and constant chipping will most certainly whether even the most stoic of mountains.
It’s the changes we undergo and how we choose to deal with them that make us “heroic”, “noble” or whatever grande axiom we want to attach to this life experience we call “Death”.
"We all have our delusions my dear- far be it from me to take away yours."October 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm #26941
I guess our family was different. From the time I was a child, if a family member was dying the whole extended family would gather at their bedside and be present when it happened. Most simply slipped away after having been medicated, one fought to breathe as her lungs filled with fluid, one was racked with pain from cancer and bleeding through his skin. A cousin lost a 5 year old to being hit by a car.
Since the deaths were at a hospital, we’d gather at the deceased’s house and the whiskey would come out. Eventually someone would say, “Do you remember that time…” and relay a story about the deceased. One story would lead to another, the stories would become funnier, and eventually the whole house would be drunk and roaring with laughter while still shedding tears.
When my father died, it was the first time I got to experience this for one of my immediate family members. His loss was very painful, but by the time the funeral came I realized that I had already moved through all the phases of grieving during that night of family.
Death was a normal part of life.
Having been a medic, the worst part of death for me was the smell. I have a very acute sense of smell and the shock of just how bad some things could smell took me some time. I got used to lots of blood, but even the memory of someone who hadn’t bathed in months or had blood in their feces can still make me retch.
You can’t treat someone if you’re retching. Finally a nurse taught me to keep a jar of Vick’s (menthol chest rub for those outside the US) in my pocket and to smear some inside my mask to manage the smell. It doesn’t completely cover everything, but at least I could function.
auribus teneo lupumOctober 14, 2014 at 4:51 pm #26949
@ Still’- amen there- Mentholatum is my menthol of choice.. ;>)
Someone far wiser than me once said:
“Andy Warhol had it wrong. We’re not ‘destined’ to 15 minutes of fame- we’re remembered by it.”
He said that because we were attending an after-burial gathering at the deceased family’s house and we took notice of the “life goes on” elements around the property…
Cars drove by-
Children giggled and played in the yard-
And one-by-one, those who knew our passed [past?] friend had a story to tell.
We finally figured out that if you leave this world with people capable of telling any good story, with a good laugh- and yes, even a forlorn tear; meant a person must have had some kind of legacy- if only in one room, for one quiet, awkward moment- for 15 minutes… Before life moved on.
"We all have our delusions my dear- far be it from me to take away yours."October 14, 2014 at 5:23 pm #26951
I just want to express my appreciation to everybody for sharing their experiences and feelings on this highly sensitive topic. It takes a lot of courage to address the elephant in the room. Let’s face it, if death, loss, grief, and trauma were easy to deal with, there wouldn’t entire professions to treat it nor religious guidelines on how to handle it. There also wouldn’t be such a high demand for chaplains in the military nor mental health professionals for the Veterans Administration. There also wouldn’t be such a high rate of suicide amongst our men and women returning from combat.
THERE….is the dark B-side to this whole discussion. Suicide is a very real and permanent reaction to experiencing the traumatic death of someone close. I would like to believe that those of us participating in this forum would be less likely to consider it due to our strong desire to survive; however, there is no hard evidence to predict exactly who is susceptible until he or she starts displaying the signs associated with it. You have people who have tried numerous attempts to kill his or herself, but failed every time -THEN- you have those who you had no idea they were suicidal until it was too late. The latter is more common.
I believe that people who are caught off guard and witness the violent death of a loved one or someone close are susceptible to suicide. I also know that many people who are in the military, emergency services, and law enforcement are NOT receiving the proper care because of the possible impact on his or her career. Many veterans will refuse service from the VA because of the perceived substandard care and possible side effects of psychotropic drugs which the VA is so fond of prescribing. If you or somebody you know fits this profile, please research alternate means for confidential help. I believe that having a strong support base of family, friends, and/or spiritual guidance and leadership will be instrumental in dealing with the effects associated with witnessing extreme forms of trauma. Most people cannot go at it alone.
I, personally, have had a charmed life when it comes to dealing with violent death. Despite my travels and experiences I have never had to deal with this situation to date. Yes, I have had loved ones pass away, but it was just that…passing away. They were elderly, sometimes sick, and passed away in a hospital surrounded by loved ones while unconscious or heavily sedated. I try to mentally prepare myself for what I would do if it were just the opposite, but what, exactly is the training and exercises you would practice to achieve this?
Whatever the case…remember: Suicide is a PERMANENT reaction to a TEMPORARY problem. Somebody out there loves you and needs you to survive. Identify who they are or take solace in believing that you haven’t met that person yet, but he or she is out there.
"If I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die historic on the Fury Road."October 18, 2014 at 9:44 pm #27365
Having worked on an ambulance for a short period of time, I’ve seen death occur in many different ways. Still Waters is right, for all the training you get, nothing prepares you for the smell of death or gaping wounds, people suffering from serious food poisoning, OD’s, etc. The mentholatum does help. But now the smell of metholatum reminds me of those rides in the back of the ambulance. I couldn’t do it for very long. Couldn’t leave it at work and just go home. All the thoughts in my head were ‘if someone better trained than me was here would she have lived? What if I had done ‘this procedure’ rather than the one I used? What if I was little quicker?Trying to find a vein for venipuncture in a moving vehicle down a rough road isn’t that easy’ The guilt still haunts me on some of those runs.
The benefit of those experiences is that if something should happen I still have the skills to help as best I can.November 7, 2014 at 7:43 pm #28567
Question to Selco (or anybody with similar experience): Serious question – What did you do with your dead?
I was just out on a walk contemplating various thoughts when this discussion came to mind. I thought about any real world experience I might have had with encountering a fatality and realized I had nothing applicable to a SHTF situation. I mean, a casualty is always brought back to a medical facility where Mortuary Affairs eventually takes over the body of the deceased and processes him or her according to his or her belief system or lack thereof. This is even applicable to service members they locate decades and generations after a war. When I was in Iraq, the bodies of enemy combatants were rarely retrieved and civilian deaths were usually taken care of by the local community. I imagine the same was done for unrecovered dead insurgents. In any case, a system was already set up to address this situation; therefore, I never really gave it much thought.
If you are in a city under siege situation, or any populated area that has all public services suspended until further notice, what do you do with the body? Do you bury your comrades or loved ones in the back yard and make a family plot? Do you burn your dead if there is no time or simply leave him or her where he or she fell? What do you do with the bodies of your enemies?
I know, as always, situation dictates, but I never really gave it much thought. I suppose I could make up case by case hypotheticals, but I’d prefer to hear from people who might have some real world experience or might guide me to some historical reference.
"If I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die historic on the Fury Road."November 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm #28570
We had a long dialog on the subject: http://community.shtfschool.com/forums/topic/dealing-with-bodies-and-contagious-diseases-during-shtf/
I pulled a few of Selco’s comments:
<div class=”d4p-bbp-quote-title”>Selco wrote:</div>You need to have lot of disposable items, as more as you can, bags, plates, masks, gloves, shoe covers, aprons, gowns, etc. I am not talking only about medical items, but also cups and similar.<br>
Soap, rubbing alcohol, sanitizers, bleach…
Also one room in your home needs to be designated for sick folks.<br>
There need to be part of your home (or yard better) designated for “decontamination” when you coming back to your home from outside world, so you can remove all your possible dirty clothes and clean yourself before entering home.
Sometimes it is impossible, but everything counts in trying to stay as clean as you can.
About dealing with dead body, in city it can be problem because you need to find any kind of free ground to dig it, and sometimes it needs to be very close to home because security reasons.
Burning bodies sounds practically but in reality you need lot of fuel to burn the body to the let say “usable” form (or size).
<div class=”d4p-bbp-quote-title”>Selco wrote:</div>In some serious SHTF event (real collapse, large scale terrorist attack, pandemic or similar) bodies will be problem, simply because increasing number of bodies simply will overwhelm dealing with them.
Mass burning of the bodies sounds like good and fast way, but keep in mind that still require some level of organization, and that is exactly what is missing in large scale SHTF.
At the end, it may come to the sad and gruesome fact that I mention before, you will be able to take care (hopefully) only for things inside your home, everything else is simply outside of your influence.<br>
This here goes mostly for urban areas.November 7, 2014 at 8:12 pm #28573
Thank you for pointing me in the right direction! As a newbie to this site, I’m still groping my way around. lol
It could literally take me days (maybe weeks) to read, analyze, and sort all the posts and forums on here. Thanks for the guidance.
"If I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die historic on the Fury Road."November 7, 2014 at 8:17 pm #28575
The search tool works pretty well. That’s how i was able to go back and find the subject matter. Without using it I would never know where it was.November 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm #28578
In regard to bodies (not friends and family) in the city, I really think dropping bodies down a manhole into the sewer system may be the easiest and fastest disposal method. Add lime and replace the manhole cover.December 4, 2014 at 8:49 pm #31245
Thank you Selco and others for sharing your stories about seeing (and surviving) death of others.
I have not been a live witness of violent death.
My ptsd thoughtpatterns try to prepare me for the possibility of this in the future, in case something bad happens.
As a security guard I did witness my first and only situation of someone dying, I and my colleagues did perform first aid, cpr, ambulance personnel later gave electric shocks but did not help, the guy already had cancer and he died after he fell on a hot sunny day.
As a new security guard I had the special honors of writing the report. The road to death for this man was pretty gruesome, lots of heavy breathing, compulsions, really weird colourings of the kin etc. It looked like a bleeding (from falling) slimey zombie. My colleague did mouth to mouth breading, he was ex military and more experienced than I was.
My managers made me change the story in the report so it was more tasteful to read for the family. They also changed story: officially he died in ambulance so they could still transport ‘living’ body in ambulance…
What struck me most was that the rest of the world goes on like nothing happened. People still go after trivial things. Shop discounts. Children play. Birds sing. And: There is now music or switching camera angles in reality. It was so different than in Hollywood. Dead people are not scary. It’s the living people that you can love but can also be a threat.
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