Bismillah Hir Rahman Ir Raheem
Peace and blessings be upon you all
Last year at my medical college, a professor introduced an activity where he asked us to write a letter to a cadaver, telling him why he was a cadaver, and is being studied upon by hundreds of students and teachers in a way to empathise with it. I wrote a letter of almost 4 pages. I should’ve saved it so I could share it here so there will be alot of twists as compared to my original writing:
I’m Andale Seaworne and I’m an MBBS student of 1st year (I’m currently in 2nd Year). How are you? I hope you’re doing well and your home, i.e the steel refrigerated container you live in, is nice, cold and comfortable. I hope you haven’t had trouble making friends in spite of the thick containers attenuating your voices, or perhaps you communicate in a different unusual way? Either case, do let me know once you receive this letter, although I believe there is a communication gap between us; hopefully that will sort out soon and I can receive your response.
You must be wondering why are you receiving this letter from me, a random medical student, and why I’m addressing you as Sir and why you are being kept in a freezing container to be let out for people to stare at every inch of your rotten, decomposed Formalin-infused body, poke at you and talk fancy jargons across you. Multitudes of questions must be engulfing and picking at you like a swarming of bees but I with my limited knowledge will try my best to answer whatever questions you may have.
I’ve written this letter to you to thank you. For what, you say? I’ll get to that. Why am I addressing you as Sir? Because it’s an honour to make your acquaintance. Unfortunately I am unaware of your name so I don’t know what to call you, but I don’t want to call you “Dead body”, “Cadaver” “It” as if your respect died with your name and life. Furthermore, I’m unaware of how you lived and died; I hope you lived a good life with no disappointments, guilt or regrets. So to honour and respect you, I officially knighted you when no one was watching (I took the Queen’s permission beforehand so don’t ask any more questions)………I’m joking, I just thought the best way to address you should be Sir. Send me a letter if you’d like a different name.
Now you’ll be wondering what a wacko I am and why I’m paying so much attention to your concerns and well-being while you’re dead, and knighting you without your permission (joking). Getting back to the point, as I mentioned I’m a medical student.
In order for me to become a skilled, successful doctor who can benefit others, I need to understand the human body well; its anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, everything! Anatomy can’t be learnt by mere text reading and rote memorisation. It requires a human body to understand how different body parts and systems are organised, how the muscles are grouped and attached, how big or small the bones are, through which vessels blood flows and so much more. The human body is an amazing, complex, beautiful creation of Allah which originated from the most minuscule of things like dust and clot of blood so it isn’t just a necessity, it’s a privilege to learn about the body at such a deep, detailed level.
Hence, I say thank you for allowing us to study the human and become better, helpful doctors to those in dire need. You may not have asked for your body to be cut up and exposed to the world but know that we do not mean to put you in an uncomfortable position for the rest of your……..whatever you call it. Every student comes to you to learn more about themselves through you and they only handle you, perhaps a bit harshly, in order to remove any queries in their mind that might hinder their learning; if it hurts, I apologise. In a way, you have become a teacher. Every inch of your body contains so much wisdom it’s amazing, a lot of which we have yet to discover. You also remind us that death is inevitable and the very beauty of our body will give up on us and all that will be left of us is a rotten corpse that will be buried or thrive as a teacher for others. So you teach so much beyond our, and I believe your, wildest imaginations.
I hope you consider it a privilege being who you are, doing what you do, knowing you are of service to others even in death. If not, I hope you get what you want and I hope you find peace. If you want to talk, I’m waiting anxiously for your response, or who knows; I could be your neighbor! Till then, goodbye!
Your humble student