Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) - The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 15 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Don’t Wait for Reanimation

I understand that it’s hard to let the ones you love go. It’s difficult and sad to image life without them. You would do anything to keep them safe and happy. But please, Don’t Wait for Reanimation… This feeling isn’t going to go away when the apocalypse comes. Quite the opposite, you will feel more responsible for and worried about losing your loved ones than ever. And despite your best efforts, the people you care about will die. This is true in normal life, but in an apocalypse it will be inevitable. Everyone will eventually die, and more often than not, suddenly and violently. You have to prepare yourself to let go of these people and do what must be done. The first stage of grief is denial. When someone dies, you don’t want to believe it. They were always there, and in your mind it seemed they always would be. So your immediate reaction is to wish they would come back. To, despite any logic, search your brain for a way this could be possible. This is a terribly dangerous reaction to death when your in a zombie apocalypse because, unless of course they died from some kind of severe head injury, they will come back. The knowledge of that mixed with the denial of their death can lead to one of the most dangerous and irresponsible mistakes a person can make in a zombie apocalypse. Waiting for a dead person to reanimate before putting them down for good.

This is something we see often in zombie movies and books. Someone dies and they are put aside while their loved ones wait for their inevitable return, at which point they finally end them. This is a bad idea because while your waiting for your loved one to reanimate you will be going through the stages of grief. As I said, the first stage of grief is denial. This means that you will be denying the fact that they are dead. Denying that this could possibly happen. No matter what situation surrounded the death, you will not be able to immediately except it. You will wish they would come back. This is the first danger, because you know they will, which is why you wait for it. Some kind of senseless desire to be with them one more time before they are gone. But they are already gone and the thing that comes back is not in any conscious way the person you knew before.

The next stage of grief is anger. As you watch over their body you’ll get angry, start trying to assign blame. You’ll likely be angry with the dead person for not being more careful and with yourself for not being able to protect them. This stage of grief is the most useful and will help you do what needs to be done. Use that anger. Channel it into the task at hand. Blame the dead person if you have to. Whatever it will take to force yourself to do what you must do. You can deal with the guilt later. Once your grieving is finished you will realize what you did was the right thing. But you have to use the anger to strike, because the next stage of grief will make things harder than you could imagine, and letting yourself fall into it before you deal with the situation could potentially cause a lot of trouble.

I refer to, of course, the stage of bargaining. This is when you start trying to convince yourself that what’s happened isn’t real. You will fall into a dark spiral of “What if”s and “If only”s. People often try to convince themselves it’s only a dream, and if they do something different maybe they will wake up. You start asking yourself dangerous questions, “What if they aren’t going to change?”, “What if they remember me?”. These kinds of thoughts will lead you to do stupid things, like trying to communicate with the person once they reanimate. Or worse, keeping them around in the hopes that they will regain some sense of their old selves.

The truth is what you have to remember. They are dead. What’s coming back is not them, and it never will be again. Try to think about if it was you. Would you want them to let you turn? Probably not. So you have to do what you have to do, and you have to do it right away. Once they are gone, you have to make sure they stay that way. It’s your biggest responsibility to your loved ones in the zombie apocalypse, aside from trying to keep them alive. So remember, don’t let denial overwhelm you, use your anger, and whatever you do, do not let yourself succumb to bargaining. Once their dead, strike fast. It’s the humane thing to do.

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Written by Joanna

#LiteraryPsychopath, strange enthusiast, aspiring individual, author of A BLOODY ROAD TO NOWHERE AND TALES FROM THE APOCALYPSE, available on Amazon.

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