Saturday, July 28, 2007

United in death

Today was an exceptionally hard day. When someone dies without any forewarning at all it is always much more of a shock for the family and friends left behind, I know I don't have to explain this. It's just logical. When someone has been ill for a period of time and family and friends watch as life is slowly drained, as pain increases, as death nears, they have begun their mourning whether they are aware of it or not. This latter scenario does not make the death any less painful however acceptance comes sooner.

The family I was with today not only lost one parent, but both parents in the course of 4 days. Mother and father were on their way home from a cross country trip they had taken which had lasted over one month. According to their 2 adult children who spoke with them often during the trip, they were having the time of their lives, doing things that they hadn't done before. This trip was a retirement gift to each other; they had finally both retired and were now going to be able to spend much, much, more time together and enjoy themselves. According to the children they had been waiting and planning for this time for many years.

Less than 1 mile from their home, according to witnesses, the husband swerved in order to miss colliding with a motorcycle and drove his car right under the rear of a parked truck. Both husband and wife were severely injured and airlifted to a neighboring hospital where upon arrival she was pronounced dead. He was never told that his wife had died since he himself had lapsed into a coma with severe head injuries. The children did not really have time to begin mourning for her because they were concerned about their father who was alive, who might live.

When their father died, 3 days later, we were notified by the hospital that there were 2 bodies for us to pick up. When I met with the 2 girls they knew both had wanted to be cremated and that decision was an easy one. They also knew that their mother had repeatedly said that when she was dead she didn't want anyone "gawking" over her. So the decision was made to directly cremate them with no services. Today both were cremated, the mother first, but before doing so the 2 girls wanted to say goodbye. When the father was cremated the family's wish of mixing both sets of ashes and splitting the mixture in two was done as requested. Their bodies were once again united and will now be spending much, much more time together.


MedStudentWife said...

Honesty, DS, I don't know how you can keep up and do what you do.

This blog is like others, just so poignant.

Hats off to you :)

MedStudentWife said...

Just thinking...does your trade have anything like EAP ?

Anonymous said...

I feel for that family. Although, I do think it's oddly touching that neither the mother or father would have to experience what it felt like to be left behind. An optimist could say that they are drifting off into the exciting horizon of the unknown together.

Not to trivialize the pain of the situation, just trying to find another way to look at such a tragedy.

DeathSweep said...

Thanh you MSW, it's certainly not easy seeing tragedies day after day but I try to do my best...not wanting to sound ignorant, but what is EAP?

Hey ABC, no doubt about it, neither of the two parents had to experience a concious loss and that can only be a good thing; a sort of salvation. I know as a child I would "try" to look at this loss as them still being together and...just by the request of comingling their cremains, theres a good chance that the daughters already do.

Thank you ladies!


MedStudentWife said...

EAP = Employee assistance program. Its social workers largely - give you support and resources should you need it