Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

It can't be easy finding a dead body.


Attending a funeral or a wake, that's one thing. You've had time, loved ones, and a knowing of the coming encounter to ready yourself. Discovering someone who has unfortunately passed on? That's an entirely different challenge, and happening to people far more often than it seems.

Reddit user, Xerxesthemerciful, wanted to know what it was like to see someone no longer with us when they asked:

"Have you ever seen a dead body? What's the story?"

Stumbling onto someone who has passed away can be difficult, even if you didn't know the individual personally.

Missing Him During The Nights

"Old security guard guy named John used to rent out our upstairs. Nice guy, kept a lot of soda around and would always keep a few around for us kids"

"John usually worked nights so it was not unusual for us to not cross paths or see him a lot as he slept during the day."

"One day a cop shows up at the house and I answer the door not knowing what I did, turns out he was there because John hadn't come in or contacted the security company he worked for in a week."

"Asked if he could go upstairs and check to see if John was there, so my mom, the cop, and I go up to his room, open the door and all I remember was seeing a blue arm hanging off the bed before I bolted."

"Guess he had died in his sleep. He was old and a widower and was kind of at the point where he just "wanted to see his wife again", so it was sad, but he died naturally."

"Thanks for all the soda, John!" ~ Gday613

Trick. An Awful Trick.

"I was trick or treating as a child. Person didn't answer doorbell so I peeped through his window. He was lying face down on the kitchen floor. Called the police and they busted the door down right in front of me. He was dead for a few days before I found him." ~ sicknisco

An Unfortunate Work Day

"I'm sure a bunch of redditors have been to a viewing/wake, but I watched a coworker die in front of me of a massive coronary. We got back on the job site after lunch and about an hour later he was complaining of a stomachache and we were all giving him sh-t because he'd eaten a bunch of shellfish from a buffet."

"He left to get some antacid or pepto bismol or something and came back, then about 30 minutes later his body locked up and he hit the floor. Another coworker started chest compressions but we found out later he was pretty much dead before he hit the floor. He was barely 50." ~ RearEchelon

Maybe you didn't see the individual up close. It wouldn't matter, because you know what's already happened when you've seen it, even from afar.

No One Cared

"I have seen a few but the one that stuck with me was when i was in the US Air Force in Bosnia. I was in a caravan of black chevy suburbans and i see this body in a river caught on some tree branch. The body was just moving with the current but tugging at the branch with the head underwater. It made me panic and i told everyone in the vehicle "there's a body in the river!" and no one cared." ~ ActionQuinn

Last Act Is To Save Lives

"Watched a man have a heart attack at 45 mph, while driving his truck down a crowded city street, just past some jr high school kids. His last act in this life was to turn across three lanes of traffic, jump an empty sidewalk and plant his truck head on into a concrete barrier. By doing so he probably insured his own death in the accident, but undoubtedly save lives. I was to far away to assist, but I watched while strangers pulled him out and tried CPR, then the medics arrived, took over and got him outta there."

"The damage from the accident, plus the heart attack meant he was dead before they got him outta the truck, so this barely counts."

"Also, had his truck gone the other way, he would have hit me instead of the barrier." ~ PaganMastery

These are the truly harsh ones, the situations which never leave and could never possibly leave. How could they?

Objective Now, Terrifying At The Time

"My dad fell off the roof and broke his neck. By the time I got to the hospital he was clearly braindead. We had to pull the plug. I'd never seen someone die before. It's crazy to see the near instantaneous change in color and texture of the skin when someone's heart stops. It was traumatic at the time but enough time has passed that I can look back on it objectively now." ~ arthur2-shedsjackson

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Going Back To Sleep

"Whenever I was 13 i stayed with my grandmother(who lived alone and was only 51)during spring break. I woke up in the middle of the night to her sitting in the living room, where I was sleeping on the couch. She was sitting there awake with her Pekingese. I asked her why she was up. She responded: " I can't sleep and hearing you and Ginger (the dog) sleep relaxes me, go back to sleep."

"I ended up going back to sleep."

"Woke up the next morning and found her passed away on her bedroom floor." ~ SalisburySteakSauce

When They Don't Catch The Pillow

"When I was 11 I lived alone with my dad because him and my mom had gotten a divorce about 6 years back. He had diabetes and was seizure prone. One day I was riding my bike home from school, opened the front door and saw him sitting on the couch with his head back. Being a kid, I didn't think too much of it and I thought he was asleep."

"I picked up a pillow and tossed it to him and said "Hey I'm home" but he didn't say anything or react. That's when I froze. I looked closer and saw blood running down his chin from his mouth. I guess he had a seizure while I was at school, bit off his tongue and drowned in his own blood. Only dead body I've seen outside of a funeral." ~ xKourth

You Don't Forget How They Don't Quite Look The Same

"I rolled my roommate over, he was laying face down on his floor half naked. I knew instantly that he was gone. There was just such an unnatural look to his face."

"It's been 3 years and I won't forget it." ~ Upeeru

"You can always tell when you look at their face. They never look like themselves, whatever it is that made them them is just completely gone. It's kind of like looking at a familiar stranger. Even during open casket events, even as a kid, I always hated hearing people say how they looked at peace or like they were sleeping. They all looked like familiar strangers to me, not the person I knew and loved." ~ ChampChains

Just Because It's Their Job Doesn't Mean It Doesn't Hurt

"More than I can count. EMS and fire service before working as an ED tech, Med school, residency, and a couple years of practice."

"I've seen homicides, suicides, ODs, fire deaths, blunt traumas, penetrating traumas, decompositions and decompensations. Kids and adults. I've intubated and pulled breathing tubes. I've been directly and indirectly responsible for deaths. I've broken that news to families. I take on that risk and responsibility daily."

"Some stay with me. Others do not."

"The one that I remember most vividly was my first year of residency. We had this biker lady in ICU who had no family, visitors, or next of kin. She had a state appointed guardian. We'd run out of things we could do and were beyond the point where she'd have any chance at a meaningful recovery. So it fell to me to get the state guardian to approve withdrawal of care."

"Once all the calls were made and approval was done, I went in with the nurse who helped me shut down the vent. I saw She had a band name tattoo, so I pulled up Spotify and played their top songs, pulled the tube, and held her hand the next 18 minutes til she ran out of steam and stopped breathing. It's been f-cking with me lately because I remember how sad it was that she had nobody she knew nearby when she died. It was the only withdrawal of care I had to do like that… til COVID" ~ squirrleyh**ker

Be safe out there, hug a loved one, and never let the fear of death stop you from accomplishing what you want. After all, you could have less time than you realize.

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