So, there’s this coroner who invited thousands of strangers to ask her questions about death. Sounds like a pretty weird invitation, right? My first thought upon discovering this, was, “What kind of weirdo’s actually want to talk about death?” I, myself, had done a pretty good job at completely avoiding any and every aspect of death, and thoroughly intended to keep it that way. However, my curiosity was piqued and I had a bit of time on my hands, so I began reading. Plus, I kind of wanted to see what types of questions these death crazed maniacs were asking.
One of the first question was from someone wondering the strangest thing the coroner had ever found in a body. Jacquie, the coroner, replied, “A fun-sized Snickers bar and a remote control. It was pretty awkward returning that remote to the family…” Another person chimed in and said, “Wait, you returned the remote, but what did you do with the Snickers?” Jacquie quickly replied, “I ate the Snickers bar.” *Insert face of shock and horror*
It was at that moment that I became hooked (and found myself thinking, “No friggin’ way! Is this real life?!” Over and over again). This coroner was clearly hilarious, and the questions were both interesting and informative. I figured, “hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” and spent the next few days delving in to this collection of questions and answers. There were plenty of interesting questions about if Jacquie had ever encountered ghosts, the unsolvable or scary cases she has worked, how she would like to die, and how in the world did she ever decide to become a coroner? Mixed in were heartfelt stories of people who had experienced loss. There were things they had always wondered about and needed the answers to help with their healing journey. Others were genuinely curious about the options we all have for our body when we die and the pure logistics of how the process actually works. One person even asked how a decomposing body really smells? (I can guarantee the coroner’s explanation is not what you think, and entirely doable for you folks who want experience it at home. Any DIYers in the room?)
I found a few things to be interesting about all of this dialogue: It was entirely death focused. The stories, the information, the questions and even the humor. Here was a group of random strangers (whom, to my surprise, weren’t death freaks at all, but every day, normal people, just like me,) conversing about a subject that most everyone avoids. And everyone was having a good time! I learned that there are so many different aspects to death, and while many are sad, heartfelt and meaningful, there is also an entirely different side that includes laughter and jokes and curiosity. A side I had never experienced before. This lighthearted approach tempered the typical depressing (and easily avoidable) aspects, allowing us all to become comfortable with talking about it and encouraging us to really start viewing death in an entirely new way. And that, was my ah-ha” moment. I suddenly realized that everyone needs to be talking about death – and this book, Spoiler Alert: You’re Gonna Die, was my golden ticket to this new reality.
The fact of the matter is, as the title states, we are all going to die. And there is actually a ton of stuff we should be doing to prepare for the inevitable. But, because many of us love to avoid the issue, most people never prepare at all. And even more of us don’t even know how to prepare. By the end of the book, I walked away with an entirely new perspective on life and death, as well as a complete understanding of what is actually expected of me before I pass. All while having a few laughs! The book also offers a guide to planning the details of what you want to have happen when you die, as recommended by a coroner. It’s an entirely new take on death, and one that truly changed me after I experienced all it had to offer. Bonus – I am now able to talk about this stuff with all my friends, and at these newly discovered death café’s (which you should all totally be checking out, by the way,) because I have an arsenal of crazy interesting stories and the book itself to talk about. As it turns out, we’re all just a bunch of crazy death freaks who can’t resist juicy stories about Snickers bars in bodies, death poops, and that one guy who died naturally while committing suicide.
In case you’re wondering, the book is called, Spoiler Alert: You’re Gonna Die. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Itunes, etc. Jacquie still answers questions, and you can submit yours/learn more on her site, www.askacoroner.com
(This post was submitted to the site by a reader. Thank you!)