To Live With the Dead

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
There has been several cases of people living with the corpse of e.g. a relative. They don't seem to realize that the person has died or they are afraid that they shall get into trouble over his/her passing.

Submitted: April 21, 2010

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Submitted: April 21, 2010

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I find this very strange indeed, but it seems that many people have lived side by side with a dead person. Recently a woman who died 3-4 months ago was found on the sofa of the family-home. Her husband had simply blotted out the reality of her death and when people asked to see her he simply said that she was resting on the sofa. So she was, and she also went into decomposition doing it so why didn't he understand that something was very wrong indeed? Nobody knows, but everybody who knew them has told of a marriage in which she was the strong one and he turned more and more dependent upon her. I think he simply couldn't accept that his pillar of security wasn't only sleeping, but had left him - so to speak.

As I said there has been several of these cases over the recent years. Some of them have been murder cases: The murderer has chosen to keep the victim's body, ignoring the decomposition and thus living in a veritable Hell of smell and insects. Such a case was revealed to the public recently: Alan Derrick who suffers from learning difficulties had been living with a man called Dennis Pring. Sometime around 1998 Mr. Pring passed away quite suddenly. This upset Mr. Derrick to such an extent that he never reported his death. Instead he hid his body under the sofa and not even a mobile council warden who inspected the flat over a terrible smell one year after found the dead man. The smell was put down to an overflowing toilet and no further action was taken.

Mr. Pring's by now skeletal body was recovered by council cleaning staff in 2008 when Mr. Derrick moved out of the flat. Everybody - especially the Council - was very sorry that this happened, but I see no way it may be the last time. On the contrary, many more may resort to this "solution" when they lose a dear one or the death of a relative stranger upsets them because they are afraid that they shall be suspected of foul play. In Mr. Derrick's case it was a conviction that he might get evicted that made him hide the dead body of Mr. Pring.

I would have thought that the sense of smells and all the insects would be the stronger part in making people decide against hiding dead relatives, friends or lovers. However, when the fright of evictions, police investigations, etc., etc. is measured against this awful situation of a decomposing body then it's this fright that wins. To me that's a strong evidence that social security comes first for many, many people.

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