Wow. I was lucky enough to experience the two extremes of human life today, the beginning and the end. As a biology major, I was given the opportunity to visit the University of Sao Paulo (USP) with some other science majors. There, we were able to visit the autopsy section of the science department. This autopsy center is one of the main centers in Sao Paulo for those who die from natural causes. I have a pretty strong stomach for this type of thing, but it was still difficult to grasp that each body was once filled with life, laughter, and love. They, like me and you, could once run around, eat their favorite foods, and experience new music resonating in their ears. What I saw was the lack of this life.
This experience was uncomfortable for me. I was uncomfortable because it was difficult to see lifelessness in real life, not in movies or pictures. However, I was able to find the beauty in this experience. This autopsy center really respects the lives of the people they receive and the families of these people as well. The medical examiners and other staff work so hard to determine the cause of death and make sure the family gets closure. They also respect the people they receive even when no family has claimed them by finding cause of death and recording as much information as they can about the identity of the body. So. Cool.
The trip to USP’s autopsy center was fascinating but also mentally challenging. I was able to see what the end of life looked like for the human body, but later that same day, I was able to interact with people towards the beginning of their lives (children between the ages of 4 and 15). At A Casa do Jardim (an after school program), I was able to do crafts and take polaroid pictures with kids of all ages. After a slightly draining morning, their energy and excitement was so rejuvenating. After experiencing what lifelessness looked like, I also experienced life and joy. I cannot put into words how transformative this day was for me. It came full circle, from autopsies to life, reminding me that it is God who blesses us with our living soul.