What Is It Like to Watch Someone Die?
"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?
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.
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?
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.