To Say Goodbye, Man Slept Beside Dead Wife's Body

Russell Davison says he recommends the experience to everyone
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2017 10:05 AM CDT
In Act of Love, Man Sleeps Beside Wife's Body for a Week
Russell Davison with his wife, Wendy, and her son Dylan.   (Facebook)

It may sound like a case of not being able to let go, but a British man who lost his wife to a 10-year battle with cervical cancer last month says that staying by her body for six days actually helped him say goodbye and was a "beautiful and comforting experience." In a post that's gone viral on Facebook, Russell Davison says his "absolutely wonderful, truly remarkable, much loved, respected, fearless, brave wife, best friend, and soulmate Wendy" passed away in the early hours of April 21 in his and her son Dylan's arms. A self-described spiritual person who believes in reincarnation, Davison says he ceremonially washed her body, put her in a "lovely flowery summer dress," and placed her in a cotton-lined wicker "cocoon (we don't like the word coffin)." Then he cried for hours, got in bed beside her, "got my kindle out, had a read, and went to sleep."

Davison spent six days with her body in their Derby home, and he tells the Independent he'd "recommend [the experience] to absolutely everybody." He says there was nothing upsetting about being in a room with a dead body, describing vividly how his wife's body began to gradually decompose. "There was no bad smell, no fluids," the 50-year-old says. "Her face sank a bit ... We were in tune with it, watching what nature does when it is left to its own devices." And it was comforting, he explains. "Wendy had died, but we had still got her. ... It felt like an emotional decompression chamber, to start the [grieving] process." On April 27, her family drove her to the crematorium. The BBC reports that it is legal under UK law to keep a body at home until the funeral, as long as the death is registered, which hers was. (This man learned to dive to find his wife's body in the sea.)

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