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sunset

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I have, twice.

Once when I was about 7 yrs old, I was sitting on the porch, and I saw a kid on a bike get run over by a car. I ran inside to tell my mother what I just saw, and she didnt believe me right off till she heard the commotion outside. Not sure what impact it had on me, but obviously I never forgot it.

Another time, there was an explosion down the road, that literally knocked me right out of bed. I think I was around 13 at the time, and ran down the street to see what was going on. I witnessed a man running out of the building... I remember screaming, and then nothing after that, so I know that affected me really bad.

Has anyone else witnessed a death of someone, and how has it impacted you? Is there anything to be learned from it? I still dont have an answer to that one myself...
 
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Retired

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Though I have never witnessed the actual ocurrance of someone dying, the closest was at about the same age of 7 I arrived at an intersection on my bicycle where a man was struck.

The image that stayed in my mind was the color of his trousers, a very particular shade of blue. I can still see that color in my mind's eye today.
 

sunset

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Steve, thats very similar to what I experienced.. I dont think I was traumatized at all, and I assume its because I was so young.. Kids have an amazing ability to just go on with their day for some reason. Now if I saw this when I was a lot older, I dont know how I would have reacted...
 

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I never thought much about it, but I guess you're right, I wouldn't have thought of myself as being traumatized by that experience, but I recall for many years after the event, I would feel nauseous if I saw a similar color of blue.

Oh yes, now that I think about it, there was an odor at that accident scene which came back to me as I write this to you. Amazing how our memory works!

Other events, a lot less dramatic affected me more deeply during my lifetime so I guess what you alluded to is quite right...when we're young we move on more easily.

Thanks for inroducing this very interesting discussion. I'd be eager to hear about the experiences of others.
 

Halo

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Wow, this topic absolutely floored me when I saw it :eek: I didn't know if I was going to write or not but obviously I am :eek:

Yes I have witnessed a death. It was my grandmother's death almost 5 years ago. I had spent nearly 3 days at her bedside while she had lapsed into a coma-like state. I was laying on her bed beside her holding her hand and rubbing my hand through her hair while telling her that we would be all right and it was okay for her to let go. I witnessed her breath getting more shallow and finally her last breath.

I had never understood the meaning of a peaceful death until that day while laying on her bed.

Although it was not an accidental death it was natural causes, it was a very traumatic day for me personally.
 

Lilhelp

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Wow. My first post after the greeting. I'm sorry you all have gone through some type of pain due to witnessing a death. Halo, I'm sorry about your Gram. I'm glad she died peacefully.

My DAD! I watched my dad die and there wasn't a thing I could do about it. More hurtfull, and traumatizing was my child was there and it was Christmas morning. My dad helped me raise my child and he was her world.

My dad was 62 years old. Healthy save for his diabetes which he had under control. He never cheated EVER as in not touching a piece of cake or sweets. Followed the diet and he exercised daily as instructed.

We had opened gifts after he had eaten and took his insulin. He had also just retired. The big excitement was babrbie's airplane which was hard to get that year but my dad went half way round our city to find that thing for my child. After we all exchanged gifts my dad went for his daily walk.

He came home and sat on the couch. He took off his boots. My daughter called in to him "Can we put the decals on the plane now Poppi?" My dad didn't answer. Honestly although I was upstairs I KNEW! My dad would NEVER not answer my daughter. I rushed downstairs to see my mom cradeling my dad's head and my little girl saying "Mommy, mommy help pop, please". I thought maybe he bottomed out so I grabbed the sugar bowl and tried so bad to get some into his mouth. It was obvious he had a stroke because his mouth was distorted. Sugar went everywhere and I called 911.

My dad turned his head and said "No, no", and then that horrendous death rattle. My mom told me to get my daughter upstairs. I did. Poor kid kept repeating like a mantra "He'll be O.K. He'll be O.K."

The paramedics still tried to paddle him on the floor. These paramedics who see the worse there is in life and death actually had tears in their eyes having to paddle a man next to a child's toys.

The weird thing is and I hate this it somehow didn't traumatize me in the way I thought I would freak out. I am not a calm person. Maybe I had to be calm for my child?

Oddly and this is weird I saw the icons here and that parakeet we had one looked like that. My dad took care of him. The week before he died he went to feed him and dropped the food. I saw him hold his shoulder and shake his arm. I asked what was wrong and he said "I don't know I keep dropping stuff and got a little pain in my arm". I feel so guilty I didn't think it could be a heart thing. Then again my dad was tough and never complained so it'd not have done any good anyway.

Death though to me is freedom for that person to cross over. Just my thoughts any way.
 

Halo

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Halo, I'm sorry about your Gram. I'm glad she died peacefully

Thanks Lilhelp :)

I too am sorry to hear about your Dad and the experience that you had to witness. I can relate to that connection that your daughter had with your Dad as that was the same sort of connection that I had with my grandmother.
 

Lilhelp

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Thanks Lilhelp :)

I too am sorry to hear about your Dad and the experience that you had to witness. I can relate to that connection that your daughter had with your Dad as that was the same sort of connection that I had with my grandmother.

Thanks, Halo.

No doubt about it your Grandmom is with you at all times now. I truly believe that.
 

sister-ray

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Sunset,

Ive witnessed two deaths of two very good friends many years ago, one in the 1970's the other 1980's and both had a impact on me. I would like to write more but won't as I think it may upset others, one was a suicide and the other drug related.
 
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sunset

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Ok, I know I started this, but reading your responses has me in tears over here.. I guess this is what opening pandoras box means.

Lilhelp... I cant imagine how hard that day was for you, your daughter and your mom. I think you didnt freak out, because your child was there, and being a mom kicked into overdrive. You were more concerned about protecting your child from seeing anything that could really impact her at such a young age, than you were about yourself.. I actually think its a "normal" response in that particular situation. Just guessing, but it sounds right to me. I think I would have done the same thing.
I am sorry for your loss. Your dad sounds wonderful!!

Halo, I am also sorry for the loss of your grandmother. It has to be a tough thing to watch someone you love take their last breath, even though it was peaceful. ((((hugs)))


Through these eyes.... I am sorry for your losses too. I know suicide is a tough one and I had a cousin who they said committed suicide. (They never found her) but even though people say its a "selfish act", I always said How much pain does a person have to be in to actually commit suicide? Yes, its a hard thing for people left behind, but I always feel for the suicidal person too.


Steve.. Maybe in another post if you can or want to tell us what less dramatic things affected you more, I would be interested. But only if you are comfortable..
 

Lilhelp

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Through these eyes.... I am sorry for your losses too. I know suicide is a tough one and I had a cousin who they said committed suicide. (They never found her) but even though people say its a "selfish act", I always said How much pain does a person have to be in to actually commit suicide? Yes, its a hard thing for people left behind, but I always feel for the suicidal person too.

Awwwww sunset I'm sorry you're crying. Hopefully they're good cleansing tears.

How awful is it that your cousin was never found? I'm so sorry. That has to be the worse of anything not knowing.

BTW, I agree with you in regards to suicide. A soul has to be so devastated and in so much pain to take their own life. Not condoning it, but I feel as you do. Thank you for your kind words about my dad.
 

texasgirl

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Seven years ago my best friend died of a massive stroke on her daughter's wedding day. We had all come home from the rehearsal dinner and we were going to bed when she complained of a massive headache. I don't know what made me ask her whether she wanted me to call an ambulance but her last words were "no" before she started having seizures. We called 911 and while waiting for the paramedics I was yelling her name telling her to squeeze my hand if she heard me which she did - for a moment. When the paramedics came, they shook their heads indicating that she wasn't going to make it. They life-flighted her to the trauma center and I sat holding her hand for 8 hours until she finally died. I remember the crescendo of her blood pressure as it went up and then it began to creep down and she finally took her last breath. The amazing thing to me was shortly before this a single tear fell down her cheek. I will never forget it. It is as amazing as bringing a child into the world. Holding her, I felt her soul leave her body and it reaffirmed my faith.

TG
 
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I had spent nearly 3 days at her bedside while she had lapsed into a coma-like state. I was laying on her bed beside her holding her hand and rubbing my hand through her hair while telling her that we would be all right and it was okay for her to let go. I witnessed her breath getting more shallow and finally her last breath.
halo, your grandmother was a very lucky woman to have you by her side. i can only hope that when my time comes i will have someone like you there to hold my hand and comfort me. you gave her the best possible gift she could have, the gift of love, comfort, and not being alone when it is time to die.

shortly before this a single tear fell down her cheek. I will never forget it.
tg words escape me. i interpreted this a tear of sadness but maybe you are viewing it as a tear of joy?
 

Halo

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halo, your grandmother was a very lucky woman to have you by her side. i can only hope that when my time comes i will have someone like you there to hold my hand and comfort me. you gave her the best possible gift she could have, the gift of love, comfort, and not being alone when it is time to die.

Thanks Ladybug, she was definitely the light of my life and a loss that I have never accepted nor grieved and one that I know that I will need to work on in therapy in the future. I too hope that when my time arrives to die that I have that special someone beside me also.
 
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i haven't lost anyone that special to me to death so i don't know what it must be like. i know it must be very difficult though and i wish you lots of courage and strength when it's time to work on this loss in therapy. you're an amazing person halo and she must have loved you very much. hopefully some day you can think of her without pain in your heart.
 

Mubarik

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A lot of my family members have passed away, but I never witnessed a death before.
 

texasgirl

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LB: I think, if it is possible, both sadness and joy. sadness for leaving and joy at coming.

TG
 

Banned

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I was with my grandmother when she died, holding her hand...it was the hardest thing in the world to let her go, but it was so peaceful and beautiful, I thought to myself "I hope it's like this for me when I go". I still miss her horribly - five years later, and I had to fly back to Ottawa before her funeral, which I think is a good thing, because I don't think I could have handled it. But it was at that moment that I realized that death can be just as beautiful as life.
 

ThatLady

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As a hospice director, I've witnessed death many times. I also witnessed the death of my grandfather. It's never easy, but there are things that can help you get through the hard parts, over time. You will, of course, have to go through the grieving process. This occurs whether the person who passed away was close to you, or not. That's because the very trauma associated with witnessing the passing of life brings on grieving. We realize our mortality and, in a way, we grieve it.

I think it helps a lot if people can just try to remember that the person who is lost, if it is a person to whom you are, or have been close, will always live in your heart, in your memories, and in the love and caring you shared with this person. What they left with you will live, and will keep them alive in a very important way. We leave behind gifts. Gifts of love, of caring, of empathy, or understanding, and of shared experience. Those gifts never die as long as we remember.

If the person who passes is lost to illness, we can find some solace in the realization that their suffering has ended. If the person dies of sudden trauma, that's a little more difficult, but it can still be realized if we really work at it. In the early stages of grief, we don't have the strength to concentrate on these things; however, over the course of the days and weeks following the loss, we are able to marshall our strengths and find our balance again. It takes different amounts of time for different people and different reasons for the loss, but it does happen - at the right time for each individual.

A good support system helps a great deal. For those who don't have a good support system, grief support groups and therapists can be of enormous help in guiding us through the tough times.

For all those who have lost someone dear to us, or witnessed traumatic events, I offer my sincere condolences, my empathy, and my enduring respect for your strength and courage. Just hold your loved one close in your heart and they'll never be gone - not really. :)
 

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