CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Word Count: 758
"That's why I write, because life never works except in retrospect. You can't control life, at least you can control your version." - Chuck Palahniuk (Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories)
There is a lot to life that is unexpected, and it does not surprise me that after all the years I have spent as a public servant that people still question the basic facts I tell them. If there is a driver’s licence, if there is some sort of identification on the body, that does positively identify the victim, then it’s so simple. Eventually, the next of kin is told, someone, somewhere is told, yet when it comes time to discuss the dirty deed of coming over to the morgue, people still question. You tell them their loved one is dead, and all they do is question. Oh yes, I know what it’s like to have people die, I know what it is like to lose the bottom of the world in a single, minute, moment, but the interrupted judgement of people mourning is more often than not, a hindrance to how quickly my work my go.
The problem is that people do not want to accept death when it personally affects them. If their mother, their brother, their aunt, niece, daughter, whoever, is killed, or commits suicide, or is slain in an accident, all they would dearly love to do is turn back time and prevent it from happening. The thing about sorrow is that it clouds a person’s judgement, it makes their thought processes unnecessarily long winded, and eventually, they come full circle and end up where they began. Death distracts people from getting on with life, from getting the job done of simply continuing onwards with their lives. Subsequently, it is left up to people like me to deal with people suffering the ramifications of loss, because the people themselves, usually, can not handle it, they can not process with enough speed, what has occurred.
If I were a more artistic type of person, I would liken the way people deal with death to how people deal with scary stories. Even I have watched a few horror movies in my time, heard a few scary stories. It doesn’t matter how unnatural or disturbing the actual content is, most of the horror comes from the build up. What happens in a scary story, in a film filled with blood and guts and gore, is that the terror builds up, it grows and it fed by all these literary devices I couldn’t care less about, and then come the moment of climax, it is just that, a moment, perhaps one that appears more shocking than the rest, but is a moment nonetheless.
What I have gathered about death, what other do not in the moments following the notification of the death of their loved one, or dear one or appreciated one, is that death is final. An accident, a shooting, a suicide, a jilted lover acting out their rage with a gun; once the person is dead, then they are dead, and they are never going to be anything else, ever. Oh, how I would have liked to grow up with parents, to have my wife still by me, all these years later, but it doesn’t work like that. I’ve had a handful of psychologists attempt to contact me, to council the long living, marred denizen of this wretched city, because they conclude I must, by now, be a nutcase, or quite close to it. No, I don’t speak to them. What is in the past is happened, and now it is irreversible. Damage can be fixed, effects can be mitigated in an attempt to patch over relationships or hurt feelings, but death does not get undone.
It does not surprise me how people react to the notification of the death of a loved one. All these years I have spent working around death, breathing it in and out like oxygen, the things it causes to happen, do not surprise me. I may not like the reaction much, but denial is a typical coping factor when the matter concerned is the murder or suicide of someone a person may have actually loved or appreciated on a level above friendship and below romance. People die, and people mourn, as unnecessary as it may feel, to me, to spend so much time concerned with memories and the past which can not be reversed, people do it all the same. I long since realised that what had happened to me, has happened to me, and can not be undone. I have long since realised that the only thing I can control is my own future, and, as such, I continue.