People Who've Actually Seen A Dead Body Share Their Experiences
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It can't be easy to find a dead body.

Coming together to mourn the passing of someone at a funeral or a wake is one thing, as you're there with friends and family to share stories and grieve together. However, finding a deceased person? When you weren't expecting it?
That's an experience that's almost unthinkable.

*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.

Reddit user, u/MakingMajorChanges, wanted to know what people typically don't when they asked:

Have you ever seen a dead body? (Not at a funeral) How did you cope?

It's not always a tragic situation when you find someone has passed. Maybe you're too young to know what's going on or maybe it's the realization that this is what happens to all of us eventually.

Not A Clue What Was Going On

"When I was 3 - 4 I found my grandmother's body lying next to her bed in Easter morning. I didn't know what was going on so I asked my mom why she was sleeping on the floor. I didn't really cope because I didn't know what was going on until the next year and now I just talk to my mom about her sometimes."


A Bittersweet Realization

"I was with my dad while he passed peacefully at home. My mom and I were both reading at the bedside, while playing his favorite music, and we just noticed he wasn't breathing any more (totally expected and after a long year with congestive heart failure, a relief)."

"I helped wash him and clean him up for transport. It was actually very helpful for me to see that it was just a body now, and the man he was no longer lived there. It was bittersweet."

"We all end up that way. There is nothing to fear from the dead, only dying is hard."


Knowing You Left A Lasting Impact

"Several. I work in a nursing home. I clean up the body after they pass, before the funeral home comes to get them. I have quite literally held the hand of a woman while she was dying. It's hard to deal with, because a lot of the time you become like family to those people. You just gotta take solace in the fact that you've taken care of them the best you could, and they're not in pain anymore."


Finding someone must do something to you. You're life is going one way, then a vector to death appears, shifting your mindscape, and having you confront things you never wanted to confront.

Guess You Just Get Over It?

"When I was 11 I woke up and found my mom's body at the bottom of the stairs. My dad was on a business trip so I was all alone."

"It's the worst thing that's ever happened to me, but I got over it eventually."


"this must be a sensitive subject, if you're ok with answering I am curious what happened. Did she fall or have a heart attack or something?"


"She fell. She was suffering for years with cancer so she was already in a weakened state. She either tripped or collapsed in the night. Truth be told she probably wouldn't have lived much longer anyway, but I didn't know that at the time."


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Battling A Snow Storm To Hold Her Hand

"Several times."

"The last time was my mother. Mother had been battling lung cancer, this was round 3 but she was losing and it was spreading all over her body. I got the news that she wasn't expected to make it more than another day or two at 8pm, I was on the next available flight at 6am and drove 2hr in a snow storm to get to the hospice care facility. She was unresponsive when I got there, I sat down on the bed with her and held her hand and talked to her, she squeezed my hand but that was all she had left. I talked to her for about an hour then she started coughing then breathing really shallow and in no more than an hour and a half after I got there she just stopped breathing."

"That was the first time I have cried in over 20 years, since her death life has been harder and more lonely, we used to talk at least 5 days a week about everything, not only was she my mother but she was also a very interesting and intelligent person with 3 masters degrees and interests ranging from horticulture to anthropology to space scifi."


Not Coping, Just Living

"I found my pregnant wife unresponsive on the ground when I came home from work one day, I did CPR until the paramedics and police showed up and took over. They called time of death in our apartment and took her body away"

"This was a little less than 2 months ago, definitely not coping at all. But that being said friends and family have been there for me the entire time, best advice I have is just take things moment by moment and surround yourself with people who care."


And then there's stories like these which don't seem likely to ever leave your mind. The images are sunk in, like claws, and will hold tight for forever.

Never Leave Your Mind

"I found my best friend after he hung himself. Called 911 and they walked me through CPR. His parents got there while I was doing CPR and took over. I had to talk to the cops and no one would tell us if he was for sure dead so we all held out hope for a bit. I finally broke down on the way to the hospital. His neighbor gave me a ride so I called my parents and broke down."

"I was really f-cked up and depressed for awhile. Anytime I drank I end up a crying mess. It was 11 years ago and I still think about it basically daily."

"Seeing people hanging in movies and TV is pretty triggering. I always have to look away."


Just Wanting An Audience

"I've told this story before, but when I was a kid some guy winked at me then jumped off the hoover dam. He bounced all the way down the incline and exploded when he hit the retaining wall. I remember it took like 30 minutes for them to get a bodybag down the slope because the wind kept catching it on the drop. Still get nightmares sometimes, almost 30 years later."


"What the f-ck, I'm so sorry you had to experience that. I don't know why he would wink at you like that. I hope you're doing well"


"It's f-cked up, but I'm fine. It was a long time ago. I've thought about his reasons, but in the end I think he was just an a--hole who wanted an audience."


No Longer Driving At Night​

"I hit a pedestrian Dec 14th 2019. He had picked up a hitchhiker, who attacked him in his car and pushed him out of the moving vehicle. He was laying in the middle of the road screaming for help in the pitchdark on a rural, 70 mph road. A driver had seen him and pulled over and called the police; she parked on the shoulder with her flashers on."

"I got over into the second lane to give her space. All I saw was a flash of white in the road; he was in the second lane, not the one nearest the driver. I had enough time to think- trash bag -and then I drove over him. I almost didn't stop, it didn't feel like much in my truck, and it was late, like 10 pm. I stopped because of the other car, to be sure I hadn't slung debris at their car."

"When I got to her I asked what Id hit, and she said it was a person. I was stunned, but went to him; I had to stop another vehicle from doing it again, to stop traffic. He was only awake for a few minutes. He just cried. I knelt on the road, held his hand and cried with him while he bled to death. He looked so, so young. He was only 19."

"I didn't get in any trouble after everything came out. They didn't catch the hitchhiker. I still don't know why the driver didn't stop me, or try to move him, something. I paid for his funeral, tried to move on. His family contacted me, they just wanted closure. They were never mean to me, they were very understanding, sympathetic. That was almost worse."

"I don't drive at night anymore. I've tried, and I have panic attacks. Im good at suppressing things. It comes back sometimes. If I see road debris, especially. Garbage bags in the road. Ill have to stop because I start shaking, panicking, hyper ventilating. Ill get depressed for a few days, suppress it again, start over."


If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at

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