This isn’t really a Q&A but it’s something I’m very upset about.
An author submitted a manuscript. I was paging down and, near the end, there was a picture of a dying elderly woman. Her shirt or gown was wide open and her breasts were on prominent display. I got sick to my stomach. Despite the fact that the woman is now deceased, I was humiliated for her.
My mom told the story of going to the death bed of a relative who was dying at his home. The very elderly man was literally breathing is last breath. He was naked and his body was not covered despite the fact that he was surrounded by people who came to tell him goodbye. My mother was very disturbed by that. That man deserved respect.
I volunteered at a nursing home when I was in high school. I remember walking into a woman’s room (the door was wide open). She was completely nude on her bedsheets and a nurse was sitting on the side of the woman’s bed, and running her hand over the woman’s leg. I couldn’t tell if it was a loving gesture or a downright creepy one. Anyone walking by that door could see that completely nude woman. She deserved respect.
A woman I used to know had a father who was a very proud man. When he died, his daughter posted a picture of him on Facebook. His head was cocked back and his mouth was wide open and the picture was downright horrific. Why post it on Facebook? For attention, obviously. I was so embarrassed for that proud man even though he was already deceased.
Why do so many people think that dying or dead people deserve no modesty and no respect? I just don’t get it.
I told the author we would not publish that picture, and I told him why. He ended up Photoshopping a shirt onto that poor woman.
I would appreciate your comments on this topic. The comments box is below.
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We have lost self respect and since we don’t respect ourselves we don’t respect others. What ever be the culture and nation we have cellphone automations rather than good old human is gone forever Sad, but true.
I totally agree with you, Angela. There are so many soul-dead people in this declining American culture. Perhaps it’s always been so, but just now they all seem to have cameras.
Angela, I’m so, so sorry you had to see this. I’ve got my own horrific images that are seared in my brain of deceased relatives dating back years that I wish I could delete. It’s also disturbing that other cultures see nothing wrong with certain kinds of pictures. Like you, my mom and I went to Europe decades ago and saw the same magazine covers of child and adult nudity openly displayed. And I agree with Eddie and Juliann that the disrespect increasingly being shown to the dead and victims of crimes is a ghastly commentary on our civilization.
Many people in their last dying moments feel hot and remove their own clothes. They won’t let you put anything on them because it “burns.”
I have heard that but that doesn’t mean family members should be taking pictures of them.
In the old days, the family would take care of their dead. They would wash the bodies, dress them, and lay them out in the ‘box’ (whatever that may have been) in their Sunday best. Then they would place them in the parlor and have visitation for 3 days. The family members had a chance to talk to their deceased loved one and have closure. People were able to deal with death in a healthy manner. And last, they would bury them, usually on their property, so they could go visit the graves site and mourn.
Now-a-days, death is pretty well sanitized. As soon as death occurs, the funeral home comes and collects the body, ‘bags’ it up so no one sees it, takes it away and does what is necessary behind the scenes out of sight. They still have viewings and funerals but the body is usually buried in a graveyard. Mostly only the old ones bother to visit the gravesite anymore.
Many times the only death people usually see are in video games or on TV and in movies. So much so that there is little to no reaction to it – only thrills and excitement because ‘they got another one’! Children are introduced earlier and earlier and death and dying leaves little effect on them. Life today, for the most part, has very little meaning.
Is it any wonder we have those with so little respect for the common man that they post pictures of people in their very last moments and soon after as if it were a trophy.
Unbelievable what some think is acceptable. It’s just disrespectful, and awful people would even consider it to begin with. Especially the elderly too often are shown no respect or given the privacy and love they should have.
I agree that it’s wrong to treat dying and deceased people disrespectfully. However, no one has mentioned the people who took pictures of the woman being raped on the subway in New York. People just watched and posted photos of the rape, but no one tried to help. That says more about where our society has gone than disrespecting the dead. But to stand by while a woman is being raped and then post the pictures is beyond uncaring. It’s almost as cold, cruel, heartless, insensitive, and uncaring as using a massacre of children as an opportunity for a fundraiser.
I agree completely. I actually feel the same way about seeing accidents at the side of the road; we shouldn’t be gawking. Those people deserve privacy during such a traumatic moment of their lives.
About the nude photos: Not just a “gringo” lack of respect here but a different cultural perspective, too, I think. Took over a little Tex-Mex weekly newspaper in a Far West Texas community about ’90, i.e., on the Rio Grande. Competed for advertising with two other weeklies for several years — across river! Whoo! Routine deaths, wrecks, drownings, shootings, stabbings, WHATEVER, I treated ’em as “civilized,” as above. Not so Mexican papers. ANYTHING’s wide open! They hawk these papers on the streets and the more bizarre the photos the more pesos in their pockets. A difference in cultures.
I went to Germany with my mother when I was 15. They had newsstands on the streets in view of anyone, including children, that had magazines with child p*rn pictures on the covers. My mother and I were shocked.
Disgusting, shocking — I think we are losing our sense of decency. The self-centeredness of our society is appalling, the selfies, the look at me and what I did today, recording every moment of their lives. What happened to privacy?
Angela you are right. I would also have reported that wherever the proper outlet for that is.
There is such as a thing up here as indignity to human remains. It is a crime.
This made me mad.
I just said this morning that the only stupid creature God made, is mankind.
Guess maybe as for most things… if it isn’t posted on their cellphones, they don’t have the capacity to determine otherwise.
Absolutely right, Angela. Publishing those pictures is ghoulish in the extreme and so utterly disrespectful.
I agree wholeheartedly. I have been in and out of the hospital repeatedly in the last ten years, and I know what it’s like to be walked in on by accident or to have a doctor forget to close a door or a curtain. I would die of embarrassment if that were posted on Facebook, and I can’t imagine that I would feel any better about it if I saw that from the great beyond. Furthermore, the way we treat people in death is a reflection of our own character. Is it any wonder why the world is the way it is today when we have so little respect for each other?
I once saw a quote in a funeral home from some ancient philosopher (unfortunately, I haven’t been able to confirm its authenticity). It read, “History shows that one of the key signs that a civilization is dying is when it no longer respects its dead.” Although I haven’t been able to confirm that truth, I genuinely believe that someone who disrespects the dead gives us a sure sign that something is dead within them.
I would have thought that this would go without saying. But apparently, nothing is off limits.