The first dead body I ever saw was at the nursing home I worked at in high school. It was my first week there, and needless to say I was NOT prepared for it. Most of my favorite residents passed on before I left for college. That experience helped shape the person I've become.
I think it prepared me to be able to hold the hand of my very best friend in her last days. To sing to her and tell her how very much I loved her, and to not look away even though it hurt, even though I was scared. I brought my son to see her too, because I knew it was important for them to spend time together. We visited often enough in the couple of months she was there that he still calls it "Tina's Hospital" when we drive by.
Wally and I didn't get that time with my husband, Joe. He died suddenly, unexpectedly, and we weren't there to say goodbye. Wally didn't get to tell his daddy he loved him or hold his hand. In one phone call I became a widow, and I had to figure out how I was going to tell our boy his daddy was dead.