18 People Describe The Unique Horror Of Watching Someone Die

Flickr / Ben Smith
Found on AskReddit.

1. His body was rigid for a second, then just kinda melted around the shape of the curb.

“Suicide jumper was pretty unnerving. He fell from several stories up and landed on the curb. His body was rigid for a second, then just kinda melted around the shape of the curb. Then blood. Unsettling.”


2. He blew his chest wall out with a 20-gauge shotgun from a distance of 8 feet.

“A 12-year-old’s beating heart and breathing lungs. He blew his chest wall out with a 20-gauge shotgun from a distance of 8 feet. He propped the gun against a fence post to cross the fence. The gun fell and went off. He was hunting.”


3. His face literally drained of color going from pink to grey right in front of me.

“A watched a man die after a Police Officer shot him in the head.

The guy was having a mental breakdown inside the Tully’s Coffee across the street from my apartment. I tuned in when I heard sirens and saw the guy walking out holding a terrified girl by the neck waving around a knife. I watched this stand off for at least 15 minutes before the action was outside my line of sight. Of course I ran down to the street like the rubberneckers I am. I heard the loudest POP as I turned around the corner and saw the guy just fall back on the sidewalk in front of the Rite-Aid. His face literally drained of color going from pink to grey right in front of me. I had never seen anyone die before so it really shook me up. Whoever was supposed to clean up the scene did a really crappy job too and there were spots of brain and blood on the pharmacy door and I thought about that guy every time I passed it.”


4. He apologized for dying. Apologized for fucking dying.

“The first soldier I ever lost.
He knew he was dying, he knew it. He told the Medic and I that were were full of shit and to stop lying because he knew. He told the Medic to save his kit, in case someone he could help took a hit.

He wasn’t scared. He was alright with it, dying in a place like that. Raw sewage, burning garbage. Rifles, machine guns, and spent gun powder. Blood and sweat. Radios and orders. Helicopters and RPG fire.

He apologized for dying.

Apologized for fucking dying.

How hard can you get? He wasn’t even 21, and he apologized for dying in a place like that.”


5. Literally couldn’t tell the race of three men, just hamburger.

“Errant heavy artillery shell. Literally couldn’t tell the race of three men, just hamburger. Never forget that.”


6. I was surprisingly calm about it until I was on the phone to the police, then suddenly I starting freaking out and panicking.

“When I was 17, I still lived at my mom’s house. We were in a middle-class neighborhood, so it wasn’t necessarily a bad area for the most part. I was taking out the garbage one night as the sun had just gone down. I walked the first garbage can out and these two men were arguing across the street. I walked back and got the second one, when I turned around, one of the men lifted a gun and shot the other in the head point-blank. The man with the gun stared directly at me, then turned and fled.

I was surprisingly calm about it until I was on the phone to the police, then suddenly I starting freaking out and panicking.

As far as I know, they never caught the guy.”


7. Whatever it is I saw, my brain noped out.

“Train station in Tokyo. Someone jumped.

I didn’t close my eyes, didn’t look away, I know I saw it.

My brain is blank, sounds only, I can only remember 10 so seconds later when train was past me and pulled to a halt.

Whatever it is I saw, my brain noped out.”


8. Not sure if being electrocuted killed him or the fall.

“When I was about 10 I saw a man fall from a ladder and die. In Cincinnati, OH some of the hills are ridiculously steep and the buildings are tall to accommodate. The man had to be up 4 stories or more, Idk I was young. My half sister was driving, (she’s 13 yrs older than me) and she was crying her eyes out. I didn’t really understand what I had seen. He was up in the ladder, there was a flash I later learned was him hitting a wire and that’s why his ladder shot out and he landed in the street. Not sure if being electrocuted killed him or the fall.”


9. Not a pretty sight.

“The aftermath of a drunk driving accident. Dude decided to fly down the road at ~90mph, hits another car head-on. The person in that car was killed instantly. The drunk driver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Flew out his windshield, his car kept traveling and ran over him. Not a pretty sight.”


10. He fell backwards and ended up hitting his head perfectly on these large rocks that were by the edge of the creek.

“I witnessed a friend die when I was a kid….

My friends and I used to play by this creek. My cousins’ house backed up to woods and the creek was about a mile deep behind their home. We played by there pretty much every day during the summer.

One thing we used to do was swing from one side to the other with a swing we made. One day we were swinging and one of our buddies (Josh) slipped. It wasn’t super uncommon to slip. You usually just fell in the creek, got wet, and went home and changed later. This time was different. Josh fell backwards and ended up hitting his head perfectly on these large rocks that were by the edge of the creek. The impact was so bad and he was bleeding profusely. My brother jumped in to make sure he didn’t drown. I ended up running back to my aunt’s house with one of my cousins and a friend. My brother, other cousin, and another friend stayed back. We got help but it was too late by that point.

It was just a freak accident. We fell so many times off that stupid swing and nothing ever happened. He just fell wrong that day and it ended his life. I could hear his parents’ screams from my aunt’s backyard when they got back there. It was awful. I still can’t watch movies that involve kids dying and as a dad now, I can’t imagine letting your child out to play and then finding out they died. It has made me realize that life is short and accidents can happen anywhere, so it has actually made me less overprotective when it comes to my own kids. That experience changed me as a person.

This occurred in 1995. For the young ones out there, that was before cell phones were mainstream. I was 11 and we were all in between the ages of 11 and 13, so we probably wouldn’t have cell phones even if they were big. Having a phone wouldn’t have saved my friend but I figured I should explain why we had to run a mile to get any help.”


11. It was the scariest two minutes of my life.

“I’ve been waiting to say this for some time. My father drowning.
It was a couple summers ago in a local river. We were wading, catching a ton of catfish. The water was low (as it gets every summer) so it was very easy to get from one side of the water to the other. Catfish really like to stay in the holes (deeper parts when the water’s low) and we had to walk around one particular hole in order to cast into it.

Like I said, we were catching them left and right. After maybe two hours or so we decided enough were on our stringers (attached to his belt loop and my belt, I had a bathing suit on so I just had a belt loose around my waist) and my dad had the bright idea of swimming back across the hole instead of walking around in order to save time; not his best idea. He is in front of me, and then he isn’t. He comes back up repeatedly saying that he dropped his pole. I’m like okay no big deal, it’s a $60 rod, it’s replaceable, right? Then it clicked. He was wearing jeans with lace-up boots (wtf?) And I’m like fuck my dad’s drowning.
I just went into survival mode.

But it was weird, I was in survival mode, and not for my own safety; but for his. I say fuck it and drop my pole, undo my belt, and make my way over to him (about 10 yards) and try to keep him above water, he’s a bigger guy, too. Like 250. And it’s just not working. Thank god the hole was maybe just under 10 feet deep, so I decide to go under (again, that weird self-sacrifice survival mode kicking in) and I’m grabbing the back of his legs and pushing from the bottom for him to get air. I did that probably 6 times, but it wasn’t getting us any closer to the edge of the hole. Fuck it, I’m just gonna grab him by the collar and pull him along. This worked extremely well. Maybe 15 seconds later, we could touch the bottom.

He is fucking exhausted, I kinda am as well. Then he tells me that there a hook in his leg with the line (from his dropped pole) wrapped around his legs. I try to feel for the line connected to the pole, connected to his leg. I can’t seem to find it, so I squat down a bit to feel his legs for the line. It was the stringer (with catfish) around his legs. And the hook was a barb from one of the fish poking his leg. (catfish have really pokey bones in their fins) I untie it and to FUCK with those fish, goodbye. We made it to shore (finally) and just broke down crying. We laid there for probably an hour. It was the most horrifying experience of my life, only I didn’t realize it until it was all over. I just couldn’t believe how calm I was in the situation and how well I handled my father dying in front of me. The sounds he was making still kinda haunt me to this day, and it was hard watching him be so helpless. He threw up a considerable amount of water afterwards. It was the scariest two minutes of my life.”


12. He just kept making panic noises and flailing.

“I worked as a patient advocate at a hospital for about 9 months. We made sure people were satisfied with how they were treated by the staff, took compliments and complaints etc. One of my jobs was to sweep through the ER and check on everyone. We were also required to respond to all codes because we were the ones that tended to the family members when crazy shit was going down. We were essentially grief counselors on the front line which is pretty hard to do with just a bachelor’s in psych—hence only doing this for 9 months. I saw a lot of people die but one of my first nights I will never forget. A man in his late 40s or early 50s was rushed in – he had cancer for a while but was suffering from (sorry I’m not a nurse or doctor) some kind of shut down I don’t know if it was the beginning of a heart attack or what but he was very frantic. He was flailing around on the stretcher and making loud groaning sounds. His eyes were wide open and very panicked looking. They were darting around the room and he looked right at me. I saw his fear. It was terrifying. The ER nurses and code crew were trying to calm him down saying Mr. Jones, Mr. Jones be still calm down be still and he just kept making panic noises and flailing. Then he went quiet he went unconscious suddenly and I’ve heard this is common but he evacuated his bowels simultaneously. The team was using the paddles on him at that point. The sounds of all the machines, them intermittently saying ‘CLEAR,’ I couldn’t believe I was witnessing it (I know this is a somewhat regular thing for doctors and nurses in the ER, but for me having never witnessed death it was insane). At that point his daughter rushed through the curtains and I realized it was my job to console her. I somehow got her to follow me to the quiet room but obviously she was inconsolable. I couldn’t shake that eerie feeling for days. I feel dizzy writing about it 5 years later.”


13. I remember the screams and sound when she hit the floor.

“When I was 5 I went to the circus with my grandfather, my cousin, my brother, and my mom. My grandpa got us front row tickets. There was a lady who climbs up this scarf that runs from the ceiling to the floor. As she reached the top she fell all the way down. There was no net, and as the stretchers got there (my mom said I told her she was dead then) she died. I barely remember most of this, but I remember the screams and sound when she hit the floor. My mom has filled me in on the rest of the details.”


14. I remember seeing his dad’s brains.

“Was playing with a friend at apartments where we lived. Apartment parking entrance was at the other end of the apartments. Friends dad gets on his motorcycle to go somewhere. From the entrance to where we were playing is maybe 300 yards away. His das turns out into the road and accelerates quickly and gives a ‘beep-beep’ as he is passing by. He went maybe another 50 feet and was hit head on by an oncoming car. His body folded underneath the car as it skidded to a stop with his dad wedged under the front end. The car came to a stop right in front of us. I remember seeing his dad’s brains. He was wearing a helmet and it was worn down as the car dragged him down the road. I can still clearly see that flashbulb moment and how smoothly grated away the helmet was and how little blood there was at first.

Later in life I learned the lack of lots of blood meant he was dead by time the car stopped or at least his heart stopped beating. There did end up being a lot of blood but it didn’t gush out at all.

I remember later that day going back to that spot. There was a blood puddle right off the road and files all over it.

I was 9 years old. I don’t remember the kids name or his dad’s name. But I remember he was riding a Black and Red Honda CB and it said “Hawk” on it and the car was a 1974 Ford Country Squire station wagon. We had the exact same car and color. I remember the blood puddle and all the flies. The flies weren’t house flies – they had a green metallic color.

I was more disturbed by the flies. I knew it was a persons blood and somehow the flies eating/drinking it was what shocked me the most that day. I think I was in shock or something because I don’t remember reacting to the accident that much. Other than the fear of the screeching tires.”



“My boyfriend of 7 years sat up in bed and said ‘I think I’m having a seizure?’ then started convulsing violently. I was trying to prop his body up and he started gurgling and I realized he was vomiting but he wasnt opening his mouth. Id never seen a seizure before that night, and it dawned on me a few milliseconds later that he COULDNT open his mouth, so I tried to pry his jaw open for what felt like minutes. the gurgling continued. At some point his jaw released and he projectile vomited, and i remember feeling relieved for a second, maybe 2 seconds. Then I realized he was unconscious. Then i realized he wasnt breathing.

This was the first time my hands were free so i called 911. I have almost no memory of the first part of the call, but I very vividly remember when it occurred to me that my boyfriend was dying. Up until this moment he was having a seizure and, what the fuck? it doesnt seem like he’s breathing? and then suddenly it was WHAT THE FUCK HE REALLY ISNT BREATHING HE’S NOT BREATHING and im just screaming bloody murder at this 911 operator who is calmly walking me through chest compressions.

I’ll wrap this up. EMS was able to get a pulse and he spent the next few days in ICU in a coma on life support while they did tests to determine brain activity. none. he was completely braindead. I held his hand when they pulled life support and his body stayed alive for a few minutes and then he turned green. I guess his tissue was already dying. I bolted when he turned green.
It’ll be 4 years in 2 weeks and im in the place I didnt ever think Id get to (happy, in love again). The way i felt in the months after his death was as terrifying as watching him die. Im hesitant to say i was suicidal but there was a period of time where i wouldve welcomed death.”


16. He died instantly and his lifeless body was hanging there for about an hour and a half.

“I watched a guy in Portland climb an electrical pole and touch the wire. He died instantly and his lifeless body was hanging there for about an hour and a half. Worst day of my life.”


17. He turned his head to look at me before I heard a gurgle. Then he was gone, just like that.

“I can’t remember the exact age when I saw this, but I remember everything else. When I was a kid, I wanna say 10. I lived in a semi niceish neighborhood. where everyone knew everyone and no one really locked the doors because why would you need too? My uncle lived three doors down from me on the corner street house, and he also was the coolest guy on the street, he’d basically upgrade his house to the next coolest thing of the time. Indoor rock garage, he had it. A personal salon hair cutting place for his wife. A huge back yard with a koi fish pond, which eventually turned into a frog pond cause he liked frogs more. This guy had everything, huge TV surround sound.

My uncle he also had a pretty active work schedule that was based on a routine which he did every day. He was in bed at 10 pm no questions asked and I would have to walk home and go hang out at my place. Which i never consider to be fun cause my mom and dad always had adult parties, it was loud and annoying. Well one day for a change of pace they were having a party at my uncles. Well 10 o’clock was coming around and I knew the routine and started to get my shit and get out. The adults were still talking and thinking about where to party next, but I just rolled my eyes and started to head home. Now I’m not gonna lie. Usually it’s pitch black by this time and all I had was a light post with limited vision.

Normally I wouldn’t be looking anywhere but back down my street when I head home. But a bird flew out of a tree and scared me, something caught my eye down the adjacent street. I noticed a car with its blinkers on run into the empty dirt lot by the stores. One of the doors was open and there was an arm hanging out. I never been the most intelligent person in these cases. I always ran towards the danger not away from it. So I ran over my back pack bouncing as I went making tons of noise and I went to see what I could do. When I got there I was not prepared with what I was faced with, this guy had been shot up. In a way b-rated horror movies would have been proud of.

There was blood everywhere, like some had decided there was not enough red on this shitty car, and dumped more red inside of it. His face was a mess, the lower half looked blown off. Leaving this disgusting piece of jaw barely hanging on and it looked like someone had made this car target practice. I was fairly certain he was dead, he should have been dead. Well he wasn’t just yet, I guess he thought someone was coming to finish him off, which someone for godsakes should have at this point. He turned his head to look at me before I heard a gurgle. The worst thing you can imagine as someone was drowning from their own blood. Then he was gone, just like that.

I didn’t know what to do, so I did what I thought was logical. I ran home and hid. the adults came out about ten minutes later, and my mom and dad rushed home to see if I was okay. They asked if I saw anything when I walked home and I didn’t say anything afraid I was going to get into trouble for not helping the guy out. I didn’t know it at the time but that was the beginning of a really bad turn in the town. Gangs and drugs started seeping in and that was just the start of a really bad situation. I’ve seen worse since, but that was the one that got to me. It was the one that stuck with me, and gave me nightmares.”


18. I went numb. My whole world had shattered.

“I was 14 when my mam suffered an aneurysm and was rushed to the hospital. Two days later, December 23rd, the phone rang at about 5am and it was my uncle saying he was on his way because my dad had called him from the hospital to say we better get there quickly as the doctors didn’t think she had much time left. I don’t think I fully understood the implications of what that meant at the time, but I got up and my uncle took me, my sister and grandma to the hospital. When we arrived my mam was grasping around her face at the tubes in her nose, completely unaware what had happened and the situation she was in. She couldn’t speak or move easily and she had this terrified look of confusion on her face. I just sat there, beside her bed. Helpless. I took hold of her hand and held it in mine to try and stop her pulling any of the tubes out. She looked at me and seemed more peaceful than she had before, then she closed her eyes and I felt her hand loosen in my grip. Everything fell away and every inch of my body went hollow. I just sat there staring at her, hoping to see a twitch or some other sign of life. The doctor arrived and my dad tried to ask a question, but all he could manage was, ‘Is she…’ The doctor nodded solemnly. I went numb. My whole world had shattered. I was lost and completely numb. What did this mean for the rest of my life? How was I going to cope without her? What am I supposed to do now? That was 18 years ago and I’m now 32, but those images of my mam are still there, seared into my mind and I think they always will be.”

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