Her pedicured nails are what caught my attention first. Those light neutral colored nails stared at me as if they were freshly done and belonged to a living body. As I looked on to the lifeless body which was laid on the dissecting table, the reality of the situation slapped me in the face.
My first cadaver.
As I continued to stare at her lifeless body it didn’t occur to me at that moment that maybe only a few days ago she was able to breathe, walk, and think as I could; all I saw was an open casket of flesh and organs. I couldn’t comprehend what was before my eyes. This wasn’t an episode of Grey’s Anatomy or Law & Order. No. This was a real life dead body and at first I was a little anxious..maybe a little too anxious. “What do I do? Is this real? Maybe this isn’t for me?!” After 30 minutes of hopeless anxiety I was able to conquer my doubts. I knew that I was in that lab for a purpose and there was no way I was going to leave without fulfilling that purpose.
I began to observe her body and I suddenly noticed things that I didn’t at first. She was around her 80s when she died from cancer. I saw that her brain and heart had already been removed earlier. I couldn’t help but think of my beautiful older sister who invited me to be her midwife a few weeks prior to this experience. At that very moment, as I stared at my very first cadaver, I pondered on my experience as a midwife and all I could think of was the significant but fragile cord between life and death.
In the Qur’an Allah says, “And certainly We have created man, and know what his mind suggests to him – and We are nearer to him than his life (jugular) vein” (The Qur’an, Al-Qaf 50.16).
If you’ve ever had a chance to study the anatomy and physiology of the human body you would concur with me that Whoever created our bodies is truly a Master Artist. Every vein, nerve, muscle and organ is placed in a way which would allow the most effective and efficient network in order for our bodies to flourish. As soon as we decide to harm our bodies we must pay heed to the consequences and, eventually if we don’t give our attention to the problem we will have to face the effects of mistreating our bodies. Too many times we take our bodies for granted. Some of us smoke, drink, and eat improperly. We continue to neglect our bodies and forget that time is of the essence. There are 24 hours in a day but once those 24 hours are up we can NEVER get those hours back. In a world where we have the ability to order a pie of pizza with fries in less than 10 minutes with our phones it can be a challenge when it comes to taking care of our bodies. Hello somebody 🙂 On the other hand, if we can understand the first line of this paragraph where God is telling us that He is closer to us than our jugular vein then we will begin to understand that our bodies are spiritual vessels. When you go to church, the mosque, or the temple you must pay your respects. Disrespect is not tolerated because you are in the House of God. Think about that family; we turn on our respect buttons in the House of God but we fail to respect our personal houses God has blessed us with; our bodies. Whether you’re Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Atheist, or Agnostic we all must come to an agreement that our bodies didn’t just appear from thin air. It is true that our bodies are made up of particles and chemical reactions but all those things are only a microcosm to the big picture. Our bodies give us the ability to go about our everyday activities. Whenever I recover from sickness I am always reminded on how fortunate I am to have 2 legs, 2 eyes, 2 hands, and 5 senses. Whenever we show our bodies appreciation we are showing reverence to God and this is the big picture. That’s what we should all strive to reach; perfect harmony with God and our bodies.
Have you ever known someone who was dying? Watching life slowly slip away from an individual is always a hard scene to comprehend and handle. It is an undeniable fact that death will visit each and every one of us but we have also been each given a chance to make choices in how to treat our bodies physically, mentally, and spiritually. Life is all about choices. Hence, what choices are you going to take to make your life better?
These are some of the thoughts which rushed through my mind as I observed my first cadaver. I gulped in the saliva that slowly filled my mouth and took the scalpel from my team leader. While cutting parts of her body I couldn’t be more grateful to God. I didn’t know when she died or what kind of cancer killed her but, three hours later I concluded that my body will one day look like hers. Moreover, I asked myself, “If it were my body on the dissecting table would I be satisfied with what these ambitious medical students would see?” (Close your eyes and ask yourself this question)
Thank you for sharing your time with me. I didn’t mean to go on a rant about dead bodies and bodies in general but religion and science is very astonishing to me and I wanted to share it with you. I pray that I said something which touched a nerve :-). Thank you for reading and I would love to read your thoughts pertaining to this subject.
Time to go for a nice run
That Black Muslim Girl
Please feel free to leave your thoughts 🙂