What Do You Do When They Die?

A recent report from the UK of a man taking his dead mum home on a 50km bus trip has made me think about what to do when someone dies. I have a cousin who is handicapped after suffering viral meningitis as a boy. Until recently he lived with my aunty, now 92 and in a home. He is 64. I can imagine him just wanting to get her home and then asking for help from the neighbours. He would be confused and very defensive… who wouldn’t?

Death has no timetable or appointment schedule. when it comes, it comes. Do you know what to do if a loved one passes away? Who do you call? What do you do first? As a former Military Policeman my first thought is to protect the scene as it may be a crime scene. In the case of an elderly relative passing away peacefully in their sleep this is not an issue but what if you were to come across them lying on the floor in a pool of blood?

First you check for vital signs and give first aid but if they are not responding, consider you may be standing in a crime scene. Forget the CSI TV hype, real forensic scenes of crime investigators don’t carry on like on TV, nor do they have the time to. Try not to spoil the scene or move too many things. Obviously giving first aid will change things but it will be clear to the SOCE officer that you did what you tell them you did, the evidence will support your story.

Once all that is in hand, police and ambulance called and so on, then what? Do you know what to do next? Are you an executor of the estate? Start thinking now about the unthinkable. What if it was a child or spouse of yours? What if it were you, would your loved ones know what to do?

A bookcase that becomes a coffin, I want one!

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