What It's Really Like Being A Death Investigator

What It's Really Like Being A Death Investigator

It’s the worst day of your life, and it’s my Tuesday.
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I meet people— a lot of people— on the worst day of their life. It’s the worst day of your life, and it’s my Tuesday. And my job is to get you through it.

OK, so technically my job is to investigate a death, but really, I’m there for you. I show up to work every day and deal with horrific things just on the off chance that someone tells me, “Thank you. You really helped me today.” I can’t describe the gratitude that accompanies a simple thank you from a grieving family member. I know you won't remember my name. Hell, you probably won't even remember the day. But if you remember that I made you calm; that I didn't break you into a thousand more pieces than you thought you'd ever fracture into, then I've done my job. I think anyone I work with would say the same. We wouldn't show up otherwise. When people say they don't know how I do this job, that's what I tell them. We do it for you.

My job is not glamorous. It’s not like CSI, and it’s not always “cool.” It’s heartbreaking. It’s dirty. It’s frustrating. Do I see some cool shit? Yeah, absolutely. And every time I see some cool shit, I have to pretend they didn't mean a thing to a single soul. If I remember they mattered to someone, then I lose my shit, and I'm no good to anyone.

I see everything from grandma with lung cancer to an unidentified with her throat slit. I see everything from the heroin addicts to the suicidal. I have seen natural deaths, accidental deaths, suicidal deaths, and homicidal deaths.

My whole world is reduced to the living and the dead…and honestly, the longer you live with the dead, the harder it is to return to the living.

I eat too much. I drink too much. I’ve built up walls I spend a lot of time reframing. Every time someone chips away at that wall; when one death hits me just the right way to knock a brick loose, I have to spend time repairing it. I have to put up that wall again, because if I don’t, I will lose my mind.

I will lose my mind because you lost your mom, or your brother, or your son. I can’t let this job get to me, or I can’t help you. So while I will be compassionate, patient, and understanding with you, I may also seem at other times dispassionate, impatient, and aloof.

I compartmentalize because I have to. We make jokes because we have to. Nine times out of ten, we're laughing. Few topics are off limits and even fewer jokes are. Like I said, I know it's the worst day of your life. The problem is, it's still not the worst day of mine. In fact, I'm probably in the middle of my week, stressed as all hell by the million other things waiting for me back at the office, and your dead loved one really put a kink in my plans for today. I say this out of necessity because this is how I survive waiting from day to day, doing this job.

I will not do this job forever. I always planned for it to have an expiration date. As it is, there's a 50/50 chance I know someone who knows someone. The other 50% of the time? I'm waiting for the ones I love most. My dad, my mom, the overdoses, the suicides, and the motor vehicle accidents. It's a constant game of, "What's the last name?"

I can't express to you how exhausting that is. It's picking up babies that should have lived another 80 years and men and women who flat out gave up. It's looking at men and women whose lives were ripped from them, whether it was through their own actions or not. It is seeing the worst of humanity, every single day, and coming back. It is seeing the worst thing someone can do to another human being, and taking those small moments of pure humanity and gratitude as payment.

We don't get paid enough for what we do. I can barely afford my life. I'm not the perfect employee, but I'm good with you. I have moments of doubt, but I wouldn't trade a single moment of my job for a second.

I'll admit I can't do this job forever, not without losing myself. I can feel my walls cracking slowly. I've only got a few more years of this left in me. Still, I know even then, I will continue to help people in my career. It's in my blood. But just know that I'll cherish every second of every interaction I've had. I pray for you all, and your loved ones, every night. Just know that. Long after you've forgotten me, I'll always remember you.

Cover Image Credit: Mary Smith

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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13 Reasons I Will Always Run On Dunkin' Instead Of Starbucks

This college girl runs on 100% Dunkin'.

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In high school, while all my friends went to Starbucks and spent $5 or more on their caramel frappuccinos with extra caramel, I was at Dunkin' Donuts. While they made fun of me for getting my coffee from a "donut shop," I was happily sipping away at my coffee cup cloud of dreams.

Now, in college, Dunkin' is still and first most my number one place to grab a coffee when I need morning energy. Whether it's in the morning or afternoon, you can never say no to Dunkin' and here are 13 reasons why it will forever be superior.

1. It's simple.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

They have a normal menu of coffee such as latte's, mocha's, Americano's, black coffee, etc. Then, they have flavor options and cream and sugar. It's pretty simple and easy to navigate compared to the complexity of other coffee shops.

2. Their flavors are unique.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

Cookie dough iced coffee? Blueberry iced coffee? Maple Pecan? Sign me up for all of them, please. Their different flavors come in and out depending on the season which keeps things fresh and fun. One of my favorites is either the cookie dough iced coffee or the Girl Scout Cookie shortbread iced coffee.

3. Their healthy options taste good.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

While you can, of course, get all the sugar in your coffee, they also have some pretty good options for those who want to start their morning off healthier. If you get a medium iced coffee with a flavor shot and whole milk, it is only 50 calories and 2 grams of sugar.

4. Their Egg Whites Dunkin' Bowl is to die for.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

On a whim, I got the egg white Dunkin' Bowl and was so surprised by how good it tasted and how much they give you for your money! It is made with egg whites, spinach, roasted potatoes, cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions. It is a great way to start off the day and be full of energy! There is another sausage scramble bowl option that you can get as well.

5. You can't beat the price.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

You can get a medium iced coffee for about $1.50. You cannot beat that kind of price compared to other coffee that can cost over five dollars. Instead of spending ten dollars on two drinks at another coffee company, you can get around six drinks or so for the ten dollars at Dunkin'.

6. DDPerks gets you great deals.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

Download the Dunkin' app and join their reward program. It's a great way to receive free drinks with their point system and often they send you a free drink coupon. I can't get enough of it.

7. The pastries are really good and affordable.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

For a $1.09 you can get a donut of your choice. Some of the specialty donuts may cost a little extra but is still well-priced. If you can't decide what to get, you can go on the app and choose the option "Surprise Me" and the workers there will choose one for you!

8. It's a great date idea.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

Take your significant other on a Dunkin' Donuts date! Get some iced coffee, a half dozen donuts, drive to the park, lay on a picnic blanket and relax with your coffee and donuts! An inexpensive and fun date that anyone will enjoy. Plus if you use your DDPerks app you get those points. It's a win-win.

9. If you use one of their travel mugs, you get a discount.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

Buy one of their mugs or tumblers and not only do you get a free drink right then and there, but you also get a discount whenever you come back with the cup. The discount isn't a mere few cents either; when you bring it they give you the refill price! Which you literally cannot beat.

10. They are fast.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

Sometimes by the time I order my drink, they have it ready for me before I even finish paying. They are all timed which means you get your drink ASAP. If you order on the app as well, you can just walk in and pick up your stuff and leave. Easy peasy.

11. It's perfect for college students.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

With the price, caffeine, and swiftness of making drinks, Dunkin' Donuts comes out on top for the drink for college students. It's easy to quickly grab on the way to class or after a huge test. Even if you are running late, they can still get you your drink and to your class before the professor even starts.

12. It's the biggest chain in New York City.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

While this may not be important to everyone, it's a huge thing for someone who either lives in New York or wants to live on the East Coast. Plus, it's New York. It's pretty cool that they are dominating such a big city. They are the biggest chain in New York. They have 596 locations in the city which beats Starbucks who has 317 locations and McDonald's who has 217 locations. Which means you have 596 chances throughout the state to grab a delicious combo of coffee and donuts.

Even Forbes wrote an article on how it has been dominating the East Coast lately.

13. Their slogan is so cute.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

How can you not smile at the slogan, "America runs on Dunkin'?" It's so simple and so cute, as well as too true. I will forever run on Dunkin' Donuts.

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