Dear Reader, I Saw My First Dead Body Today

I have to tell you something: your priorities are all wrong.

Hannah Davies

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Image via Unsplash

My Grandad died this Thursday.

I know, I know. He was 90 years old and dying is what grandparents tend to do.

Except he was joking with me at home on Monday, and I was gently ushered in — by a nurse I must look about 16 to, reluctant to take me alone, asking if my uncle is my father, are you sure? — to see his dead body in Side Room 2 on Thursday.

72 hours.

My uncle held my hand and I felt his clench, involuntarily, around my own. Even experienced adults do not like to look at a dead body.

There is something uncanny about it — the bardo space between loved one and meat. Cooling, but not yet cold. I wanted to say, but that’s not him.

It took me a while to realise it wasn’t a paid poor imitation actor who was going to jump up.

I am not writing this piece to burden you with grief.

I just have to grab you by the shoulders and tell you this:

Everything you are so invested in is bullsh*t.

There is only a brief window, fresh from Death, we can see clearly enough to say this in. Still in the clothes I put on when he was alive.

Before I forget again, too.

Our Carousel Ride

Most religions state that life, Earth, is a fleeting illusion. At most, a temporary train stop we can learn from.

Religion

  • Buddhism: Dukkha (suffering, incapable of satisfying, painful) is an innate characteristic of existence in samsara. (Source)
  • Christianity: Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and temporary residents not to give in to the desires of your old nature, which keep warring against you. (1 Peter 2:11)
  • Islam: Know that the life of the world is only play, and idle talk, and pageantry, and boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children; […] the life of the world is but matter of illusion. (Al-Hadid Chapter 54 Verse 2)
  • Hinduism: The soul is misled by matter, and subsequently entangled and…

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Hannah Davies

Brit Psychologist (MBPsS, BSc), UX Researcher, human.