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Why NOT to Use a RED Body Bag
A Personal Plea
Many people do not realize that body bags are not made just in the color black. While that is the popular color that is used in T.V. shows, body bags are actually made in a variety of colors. Maybe there is a reason, perhaps for the sake of the first responding officers, that these colors are produced, but they need to not be used on the bodies that will be seen by the families. Let's do as this mother suggests, and keep in line with the solemnity of the occasion by using only black body bags where family members will see them. It is such a small thing that would mean so much.
The entry below was written last year. It was written by a grieving mother who was trying to figure out why the red body bag that her son was wheeled out in caused so much anxiety, anger and added grief to her issue of loss. In writing, she found her answer and a measure of peace by understanding why. She has offered this intensely personal insight in the hopes that it will help someone else to avoid the same added pain by making the "authorities" in this matter aware of the added anguish it can cause. It is being published here in the hopes that officers and others who deal with the dead will see it and think twice about the choice of color that they use on the dead, especially when members of the family will see the body in the bag. It is done too, for those people who manufacture, produce and order these body bags for their crews. It is also done specifically for those who train others in handling sudden death cases so that they can train their students to be cognizant of this issue and use BLACK body bags in at least these visual instances.
I encourage anyone reading this to forward it to anyone who has to choose what color to conceal those beloved family member's bodies in these dreadful bags. Please remember the color of respect, black, and the fact that a new, brighter color is simply a shock on the family members and has the power to add so much pain. Thank you. Signed: Those That Have Held The Grieving.
Why A RED Body Bag?
Red body bags should be illegal.
My son died earlier this year. Technically, it was suicide; a gunshot through the temples with a .40 caliber handgun. When something like this happens, it is completely devastating. It doesn’t matter how old he was, he was my baby, especially then.
Any death is a somber occasion, but a suicide is especially so. When people go to a funeral, they often wear black. Black shows a respect for the occasion. It is generally understood that wearing red to a funeral would, in the very least, be in very bad taste.
Red is an alarming color. It is the color of blood; an open wound; an emergency. It is used to catch attention, to warn of a serious hazard, and to cause one to stop proceeding. All of these things apply to a violent suicide; but red is still inappropriate on the violently dead. The color red screams out at you, but in a situation like this, isn’t there enough screaming, even if only in one’s head? It’s the sound of a mother’s heart being savagely ripped apart.
Maybe these are the reasons that a RED body bag is so wrong. It intensifies and adds to all the pain and anguish that is already going on.
Red is the color of something infected, something festering before it turns to gangrene and all feeling is gone; just like a mother’s heart in the months after experiencing this kind of news. Why would anyone want to add a visual aid to reinforce the horror of a night that will already be burned into a mother’s every waking moment?