Historically speaking, you can take a look at almost all cultures, ancient and modern, and at all religions in the world and see that, no matter how different and opposite their beliefs and traditions may be, they all have at least one thing in common: the respect for their dead. Burial rituals differ from one part of the world to the other, granted, but ultimately, even if some incinerate their dead, even if some put them into the ground, send them down to the river or mummify them and place them in imposing tombs, the point is that the dead don’t stay with the family anymore. Except in some cases…
Sometime ago, we talked about people marrying different “partners” and this included from the Berlin wall to a dead corpse in a cemetery, but today we will take things a step forward and see some people who live with dead family members, and by living we mean that they didn’t bury them, at least not for a while. You may have heard about them a few years back, but let’s make a roundup and see what really was going on there.
3. Tsiuri Kvaratskhelia preserved her dead son in vodka
This story was quite popular back in 2013, when the world showed signs of shock and panic at the news that a mother from Georgia (the Eurasian country, not the U.S. state, relax) kept her dead son’s body quite well mummified at first in traditional balsam sap, and then in some cocktail combinations of vodka and other spirits, as she had a revelatory dream about alcohol’s properties. The dead son, Joni Bakaradze, died at age 22 and the family preserved him in something that looked like a coffin with a glass window for 18 years, while his mother took care of the corpse every day not letting it to decompose.
2. Lim Ah Tee and the power of love
Among the people who live with dead family members, or at least lived as much as they could endure the corpse’s stench, is a man from Malaysia, whose name wasn’t reported, but who became anonymously famous for keeping his wife, Lim Ah Tee, in the house for 35 days, which wouldn’t be such a shocker if Lim wouldn’t have been dead. One day, the woman, aged 42, felt sick and died. The husband didn’t for a second consider he should take her to the hospital or at least call in the authorities, but he put her in the bedroom and closed the door. He kept lying to his son and everybody else about Lim’s disappearance, while every day he would go comb the dead woman’s hair, spray perfume, seal the room, place deodorizers inside to hide the stench and so on. The body was however discovered by the man’s brother, authorities stepped in and finally the woman was put to rest. The reason for all this? The man was madly in love with his wife and he just couldn’t let her go.
1. Vietnamese man slept next to his dead wife for five years
If you were looking for Asian strange news back in 2009, you can’t have missed this one, as it traveled the Internet with the speed of light. Mr. Le Van lost his beloved wife in 2003 and he couldn’t convince himself to let go of the past or her dead body. So at first, he slept on top of her grave for a year and so, when he decided he needed to be closer to her and avoid the unpleasantness of some weather conditions. So he dug up a tunnel and intended to sleep a bit closer to her grave. This kinda alerted the man’s close friends and relatives who considered it a stupid idea, go figure. But Le Van knew one thing and one thing only: he dug up the wife’s body, molded it in some clay to turn the corpse into a female statue and kept her in the house, sleeping by her every night, with the couple’s son hugging his “mother” before going to bed each night. For 5 years. Now if this isn’t love, nothing is. Authorities however, alerted that some sanitation rules may have been broken, came to inspect the house. The rest is history, but among all the people who live with dead family members, Mr. Le Van was the most dedicated.
If you were ever doubting that the dead are among us, fret no more. Love and commitment are stronger than death, and to paraphrase Mr. Le Van’s words, the body may have died, but their spirit is still close together with us. And besides, stranger things are known to have happened. Not to mention that there are many others who kept their dead very close to their hearts, so to speak.