Saturday, 31 January 2009

An unexpected thing.

This is so difficult to explain to people.

I went to a sudden death about a week ago, 80+ year old lady who passed away in front of family members. Paramedics called and unfortunately pronounced that she was life extinct. We were called as per normal for a sudden death. After arriving and re-assuring the family that just because the police were there, they had no cause for concern.

The lady was very old, had been very ill and had only been allowed out of hospital a few days ago. The family were devastated. It was a large family, her oldest grand daughter was her primary carer and had moved with her own family to live with her. Her oldest daughter lived next door and was at the scene. Normally we turn up, ascertain that there are no suspicious circumstances and request the removal of the deceased to the mortuary. In this case all of her nine children were on their way to the address to see her at home for one last time. These were nice people, a rarity where I work and worthy of some empathy. It took two and a half hours for all of her grown up children to arrive and we waited outside despite numerous calls asking why we were delayed from the control room.

After satisfying ourselves that nothing dubious had occurred the grand daughter asked if she could arrange her gran to look more dignified as her death throes and the paramedics had made a bit of a mess. As this would be the last time her family would see her in her home I agreed. She thanked me profusely, offered to make me another coffee, which I refused and went to clear the mess. Normally you should ensure the deceased is undisturbed but I just had a "feeling" that this was right.

Eventually all the family had paid their respects and I requested that the on call funeral directors attend. I had explained the whole procedure about the removal of the deceased and the calls they had to make to the coroner. I really went out of my way to help these people. When the funeral directors arrived they were formally dressed and exuded an air of professionalism that really assisted in the upset of the day for this family. I am grateful to them.

As she was taken on the trolley from the house to the van I gave the family my details and told them that if they had any questions I finished at X PM and they could contact me any time.

I was astounded today to find a sealed letter to me containing a personal request had been left at the station asking if I could attend the funeral along with my colleague as we had supported the family so much on the day. This has never happened to me before and doubt that it ever will again. I am on duty at the time of the ceremony but will move heaven and high water to go.

Not sure that the three hours we spent on the day will greatly impact on crime figures but inwardly gives me a greater glow than any PWITS/GBH even murder arrest that I have ever made. I only met this family at the time of great sadness and loss to them but they remembered me. What other job do you get this from?


Dark Side said...

Aw what a lovely thoughtful family! restores faith in hummanity for a short while anyway.

Hope you manage to go..x

Like the blog by the way found you via Ellie Bloggs...

Annette said...

How touching that they asked you to go to her funeral.
They must have really appreciated the way you handled the situation.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

What an interesting blog you write. The only thing is, is it not difficult not to become depressed at times. You may like to glance at my blog 15th Jan. I could only write on this sort of thing occasionally. (Peoples comments on that blog are also interesting.)
Good luck to you. I will be back.