A husband explains why he kept his wife's dead body in the bedroom for a week
It's hard to imagine what it would be like to get married, let alone to lose your young wife to cancer. Finding the love of your life and then being parted by death would be unbelievably difficult. It's like you won the lottery, you won life, you found your soulmate - but still, you can't be together. For Russell Davison, death and its consequences shaped the way he dealt with the passing of his wife, Wendy.
In 2006, Wendy Davison was diagnosed with cancer. In April of 2014, she passed away. It was a ten-year war with the disease, and Wendy fought for those years with all she had. Russell, living on with her memory, had a lot of time to consider his wife's death, and how he would react.
In England, it is perfectly legal to keep a dead body in the family home before the funeral. That is precisely what Russell Davison did, letting his wife Wendy stay in the bedroom they had shared until it was time for the proceedings.
Wendy is to be cremated, according to the family. Speaking to the BBC, Russell Davison explained his attitudes toward death:
"I did not want her in the mortuary or handed over to a funeral director, I wanted us to take care of her ourselves at our family home, have her in our bedroom so I could sleep in the same room. Death seems to be such a taboo subject in our society, no one seems to want to talk about it."
In an intensely descriptive and detailed Facebook post, Russell posted a digital memorial following the death of his wife:
"We have very strong spiritual beliefs that we developed together over the years that have helped and guided us a lot. Wendy’s body is laid to rest in our bedroom. The picture above is the alter we have made to help honour her, it is at the head of her cocoon (we don’t like the word coffin) in our bedroom. We are sitting vigil with her body until she is cremated on Thursday. She will not be alone at all during that time. If anyone would like to visit or sit with her you are very welcome."
The couple have four children, all young boys.
"For a long time I have been determined to have Wendy at home when she died. I did not want her in the mortuary or handed over to a funeral director, I wanted us to take care of her ourselves at our family home, have her in our bedroom so I could sleep in the same room. I was sure this would be a comfort to us all but again am truly amazed about what is happening; having Wendy’s body here and being able to sit with her all day, have her friends and family come to sit with her, chat with her, chat about her and light candles and incense on her alter is proving to be such a beautiful and comforting experience for me, the boys and all that are taking part.
"My nephews came last night and they were both a little nervous never having seen a dead body before but after while of being with us all in the room with Wendy they said how peaceful, comforting and reassuring the experience was. Something very beautiful is happening right now in our house and I can’t help feeling Wendy is making that happen."
All the best to Russell and his family. We're glad he could handle the death of his wife on his own terms, and deal with it in a way that felt right, and added closure.