I had a dream last night. A bad one.
It involved me being accused of murdering someone that was beating the crap out of a friend of mine (in the dream it was her husband, in real life she is a lesbian...yeah, I know I didn't say it was a normal dream). I remember that I was scared shitless because I knew I had committed the murder. I also remember watching the cops searching the warehouse where I had hidden the body behind a huge pile of boxes of Kleenex and everytime they got near the pile of boxes I was yelling at them to distract them.
I don't remember how, but they found the body and they decided that I was going to be executed right there in the warehouse. I kept telling them that I needed to call my friends and family to let them know where I was and that I loved them but it didn't matter. I just remember them all pointing guns and throwing baseball bats at me. When I woke up I remember something had hit me hard in the head...I don't remember how I died.
Weird huh? I think all the dreams are stemming from some crime scene photographs I had to go through on a murder case our office has been working. They were probably the worst I had ever seen.
In my time doing criminal defense, I have worked on approximately 15 to 17 murder cases. I have looked at crime scene photos, autopsy photos, and handled evidence that had the stench of death permanently stuck to it. In another capacity, I have seen, smelled, and touched dead bodies. Death is the one part of this job that I hate the most, but...it's also one of the most fascinating.
The photos I was going through a couple of days ago were of a victim who had been stabbed a few times, then buried...while probably still alive. Pretty simple right? Well, the vic was buried for several months before being discovered. Some of the body looked like it had melted like wax, half was horribly rotted and the other half...the other half looked like the skin of someone who just stepped out of a salon...it looked absolutely normal.
I started really studying the photographs...I mean really looking at the details of each one.
I looked at patch of skin on the victims cheek and I thought, someone probably loved this person. Someone probably kissed this person on the cheek right here, every day before they went to work.
I looked at a tattoo and I thought, Were you with a friend when you got this tattoo? Did you get it when you were young? Did you regret it?
I looked at his hands, or what was left of them, and I thought, Your hands...did you hold your kids hands when they were young? Did they love it when you ran your hands through their hair. Were they comforted when you put them to sleep?
Then I looked at his face...Someone loved this face right? Someone looked at this face everyday and said, I love you. Someone used to kiss this face. Someone kissed this face on their wedding day. What were you thinking when you put on those pants and shirt. If someone told you, you were going to die today, would you have worn something different? Who would you have called to say goodbye?
I'd never dream of doing anything else but still...I sometimes wonder about this job of ours. Have I become a different person than when I started? Of course I have. For better or for worse though? Not worse though...not worse...am I? Would I even know?
This job of ours makes my heart hurt sometimes.