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What Is It Like to Watch Someone Die?

Updated on March 23, 2020
Kyler J Falk profile image

Taking the time to understand one another is more important than rushing to find out more surface information about each other.


"What is it like to watch someone die?"

This is a very complex question, one that is asked by many children and adults equally, and it is a question that cannot be answered the same every time it is asked. Each of us will experience the death of another in a different way, and the more you experience death the more it changes. I'm going to tell you what it felt like the first time I ever watched someone die.

Have you ever wanted to see someone die?

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Careful What You Ask For, You May Get an Answer

The first time I ever watched someone die it was quite surreal, I wasn't expecting the reaction I would have to such an experience. I figured if I ever saw someone die, especially a stranger, I wouldn't really care and be able to brush it off. That was my macho side speaking, and as is most common that macho side was completely wrong and unprepared for the reality of death.

One day, about a week into working there, I had to watch someone die from gunshot wounds in the hospital. It was very hectic, all the nurses running around with all their different equipment, the doctor sprinting by me with what seemed like tunnel vision and pure life-saving intent on his face. The air was thick with hot panic, and despite this high-energy I felt quite cold.

As the nurses performed CPR on the individual, blood began to spill from the entry wounds, the doctor directed others to wipe up the blood that was spilling to the floor. There was a coldness in the process, as if it were business as usual for all involved, except for me outside of the room with my knees weakening.


Feeling like the world was running away from me, as if it was only me and this dying individual, I watched on as their chest was being compressed. Leaning up against the railing outside of the room it had to have been apparent that I was disturbed, but it was my duty to continue watching and so I did. For fifteen minutes the life of this individual faded away as others worked on them.

Tears began to well in my eyes as it got closer and closer to the announcement of their official death time, but I held them back so the EMT's standing there discussing how futile their attempts to keep this individual alive were so that they wouldn't see me cry. Nurses covered in blood stepped away from the body as the doctor commanded and the time of death was announced.

The body was wheeled by a nurse, myself, and another officer down to the cold storage room after having been cleaned up. I was dizzy with confusion and felt empty, almost as if the love of my life had just left me for another man, but rather than heartbreak it was just a cold, dark void in my chest. The pain this caused me emotionally was indescribable, but I went back to work and tried to forget what I had just witnessed.


Haunting Memories

Witnessing death isn't the worst part, it is that every death seems to stick to you no matter how hard you try to wash it off. I see that individual who died with no family, friends, or loved ones around them covered in blood on the table in my mind clearly still. Every time I recall it I get a sinking feeling, and all the others I witnessed come flooding into my mind shortly thereafter. Eventually you learn to block it out, even joke about it, but that pain is always there in the back of your mind.

Have you ever witnessed someone die in front of your eyes?

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Value Your Life

Having watched other people die right before my eyes it has given me a deeper sense of the value of my own life. With every passing second, of every passing day, in every fleeting month, that leads to another quickly disappearing year I have come to want to live life to the fullest extent possible lest I pass on without having truly lived. It cannot be expressed enough that you need to value your own life, and never let a single thing hold you back from what it is you want to do.

Get out in the world and manifest your hopes and dreams, do it before it is too late and you no longer have the choice.


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    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      44 hours ago from Corona, CA

      As of now I write freelance part-time, but I'm the full-time housewife as of now. It is my job to ensure Lucien is raised well, and living the happiest and healthiest life we are able to provide. Prior to my spinal injury, however, I did private security, asset protection, paramilitary, military, and other ventures of that nature.

      I hope to one day create a world-famous fantasy novel series that branches out into other mediums, but I don't have a lot of time to work on it due to watching my son 24/7 and being unable to hire illustrators.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      45 hours ago from Central Florida

      This explains why you immerse yourself in nature and all of its glory. Nature is freeing and the essence of life.

      I can't imagine witnessing what you describe in this article. What is it you do for a living, Kyler?

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      3 days ago from Corona, CA

      I appreciate the compliment, Chayla, thank you!

    • Chayla Powers profile image

      Chayla Powers 

      3 days ago

      Amazing writing structure and writing skills, keep it up and keep writing

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 days ago from Corona, CA

      @Ivana: Thank you for reading, and may we all live life to the fullest.

      @Laurinzo: Thank you for reading, Laurinzo!

    • Majestic Tells profile image


      4 days ago from Kanab, Utah

      Keep writing...great stuff!!!

    • Ivana Divac profile image

      Ivana Divac 

      4 days ago from Serbia

      This is very deep. Nothing in this world can prepare us for death of a loved one, or for a death of a stranger, or for our own death. This article makes us appreciate life and all little miracles in it while we still can.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 days ago from Corona, CA

      Most definitely, KonaGirl, and thank you for reading and offering input.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image


      4 days ago from New York

      Losing a loved one, no matter how it occurs, is always devastating. Sometimes it comes quickly without warning and other times it is a relief for the one suffering.

      Regardless of the way the life of the loved one is taken from us, the grief that comes after the fact, comes in many different waves to everyone. As everyone here has already stated, treasure what you have before it is gone. Don't live with regrets.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 days ago from Corona, CA

      Thank you, Laurinzo!

    • Majestic Tells profile image


      4 days ago from Kanab, Utah

      Used to eorknin healthcare ive seen it up close...and youre sobright it makes you value your own life...great article!

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 days ago from Corona, CA

      Thank you, Mitara, and keep living your life to the fullest extent possible!

    • MitaraN profile image

      Mitara N 

      4 days ago from South Africa

      I hold strong to your words, it's so powerful Kyler, "I have come to want to live life to the fullest" and "you need to value your own life, and never let a single thing hold you back"

      Nothing prepares a person, mentally and physically to witness the loss of a life, especially when it's unexpected. The feelings that haunt your inner being not knowing how to find comfort, the memory remains fresh in your mind, no matter the months or years that pass.

      Thank you for your articles, always look forward to the read

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 days ago from Corona, CA

      Absolutely, Al, and a wonderful addition to the dialogue occurring here in the comments. I fall to pieces when I so much as lose a pet, and I am not looking forward to knowing the feeling of seeing someone close to me pass. Hopefully, with the lifestyle I live, I get to be the first of my loved ones to pass on and I hope I do so in a blaze of glory doing something I love.

    • Al Stine profile image


      4 days ago from South Equator, East Pacific

      Watching someone die is surreal, but nothing can prepare you for the death of a loved one. A part of you dies with them, the memories and experiences you shared are played back at that moment.

      When my brother was killed I was consumed by grief and anger. It takes a lot of courage and strength to move forward knowing that you have lost a part of what defined you.

      I honestly admire the strength in people that have lost a lot of loved ones. People that are close to us become a part of us, losing them means we are losing pieces of ourselves. They have true strength that allows them to hold on to their remaining pieces without falling apart.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 days ago from Corona, CA

      @Fran: I'm very sorry to hear that he went slowly, I'm sure you eased as much of his pain as you could and he appreciated your every effort. Your strength is admirable.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 days ago from Corona, CA

      @RoadMonkey: I never wish to put a damper on things but I also don't like to kneecap my own experiences in lieu of honesty, but most of the deaths I witnessed and continue to witness are rarely so peaceful and something to aspire toward. It is great, however, that they could go so peacefully and may we all get to go with such ease and comfort.

    • powers41 profile image

      fran rooks 

      4 days ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Yes, I was a caregiver for my husband for years. His was a long, slow death, and in the end, it was peaceful and, I gave thanks he slipped away after so much pain and suffering. Thank you for the article.

    • RoadMonkey profile image


      4 days ago

      I was unable to be there when either of my parents died. I wish I could have been. A friend described being with her father when he died and she felt his passing was very good. He saw a light and she saw his eyes light up, seeing this light, just the moment before he died. She said that she would not worry when her time came. We had a friend stay when he was dying but he had to go into the hospice about 3 days before the end. Up to that point he did excellently well and we felt that we would do well if we were able to behave as he had. Although we would have attended his death if we could, we were not called in time.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      5 days ago from Corona, CA

      @Raymond: Too true, thank you for reading.

      @Pamela: My condolences to you and your mother, Pamela, it is always hard watching people pass away, especially when it is someone so close to you. It was those suffering who were the hardest to watch, it seemed unfair that they would be made to suffer before losing their life.

      Ugh, this is why we must value our lives and go out without regrets. Thank you for reading.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 days ago from Sunny Florida

      As a RN I have seen many people die and last year I watched as my mother passed away in June. As a nurse you try to keep your relationship with a patient very professional so you don't get too attached. It doesn't always work though and I have cried after losing a patient more than once.

      It is surely not something I ever wanted to see and yet some people are so ill I felt like they were finally at peace when they passed. I didn't like seeing people suffer at all.

    • raymondphilippe profile image

      Raymond Philippe 

      5 days ago from The Netherlands

      Some things are just too terrible to forget easily. Life is precious indeed. Manage it carefully.


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