Monday, 20 June 2011

My First Time

This is all about my first time seeing a dead boby, my first experience with death (personally), and my first call out.

You never forget your first dead body, ever! Whether it's just a picture, a road accident or just before a funeral, everybody has a different experience. I deal with people every day who have never seen a dead body so have the knowledge and experience to prepare them for what they are about to see. Of course I remember my first dead body like it was yesterday even though I was only a kid! I can't remember my exact age but I was around 7 or 8. My first body was a young woman who must of not been older than 25, I don't know how she died but it was my dad who kinda MADE me look at her! I was with my mom and she had to bring my dad something to work, I used to go with work to my daddy all the time and play with toys in the relatives room when there was nobody around so it wasn't unusual for me to go there, my mom (who didn't work) put me in the relatives room and went to find my dad who was in the room of repose with the deceased girl (her family weren't present). I hurt my leg on a table and ran to find my daddy (I've always been a daddys girl and still am!), my mom stopped me from coming in but my daddy told her to let me in. I remember my mom didnt want me to see the dead girl I was too young but my dad said that it was best to get me used to it (because of his job etc), so he picked me up and showed me her, he just told me she was asleep and was in heaven with the angels looking after her because she was poorly. (I still don't know to this day what she died of, I've asked my dad but he hasn't got the records that far back (around 1992-1993). I didn't get upset I just wanted my daddy to look after my leg! I was never allowed in the embalming room until I was 16 and didn't see anything horrific until I was 16 either.

I am VERY fortunate in that until I was 14 I hadn't experienced death first hand but when I turned 14 my dad told me that my mom had passed away in her sleep, the pathologist told us that she had died of heart failure and was in no pain. I remember crying non-stop for weeks, I had to take time off school and didn't speak to any of my friends, just my daddy. When a funeral director loses somebody they love they will either decided straight away they want to take care of everything or nothing at all, my daddy took the former option and gave my mom the funeral she deserved. It was after my moms funeral that I decided I wanted to go into the business, so I asked my daddy if I could work with him and he was SO PROUD, I have only ever seen him that happy when I graduated and had my children! I was still at school so just helped out when I got home making drinks for clients and doing paperwork, but I loved it, I also earnt money which I saved for my college fund.

When a funeral director says they are 'on-call' it means they must be availible at a moments notice to go and collect a dead body or allow a family to go and visit the deceased. I must admit it's part of the job I don't like much because it sometimes means I get little or no sleep and sometimes - believe it or not, people prank call and it's a total waste of time, and I don't know about you but I cant get back to sleep once im up and about.
My first call out was a daytime call and I went with another staff member, it was to collect an elderly man from a residential home, I remember being so nervous about putting the body in the body bag correctly and not dropping it, and whether the staff would look at me differently because I was a girl. I was 18 at this point and had been working at the funeral home full-time for a couple of months before going off to college. But, I needn't of worried, the nursing home staff were very pleasant and said I must be very keen to do the job being so young, it went without a hitch, I didn't do much of the lifting but I did everything with the body bag and all the paperwork! One thing thats hard about removals is the weather, when its sunny (and believe me, in vegas it usually is!)

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