I was training to be a funeral director, a caretaker of the deaceased. Then funerals became irrelevant as the world collapsed. From my former career I took with me supplies that might help me survive: scalples, forceps, hemostats, embalming fluids intended to disinfect the dead but that I thought might be of use for the living, and my weapon, a trocar. I had enough biology and chemistry classes and hands on experience to become the neighborhood "doctor" of sorts. I never expected to ever have to cut into live human beings who could feel things and I will never forget the experiences I had.
I guess the first person I techniquely killed was my mom, but all I did was follow her orders. I held her had and ripped the plugs of the life support machines from the wall socket. We both new she couldn't survive much longer and she thought Iwould have a better chance at survival if I wasn't worried about her. With the help of some colleages at the funeral home I work at I gave her as proper a burial as I could.
My mom was right, if I had continued trying to get back and forth to the hospital and her bedside I would be dead now, either devoured by the herd of zombies flanking the hospital or as part of the herd. I ended up abandoning my house after clearing of supplies and staying with my friend Sheryl and her family. Sheryl and her two daughters were about a year away from getting their blackbelts, not that hand to hand combat skills were of much use. Too much chance of getting bit. More important was her husband Doug's arsenal of weapons. He collected archaic weapons, which adorned the walls of their house, and more modern weapons. His years in the airforce enabled him to whip us into a small and strange unit of fighters.
We created a pretty secure bunker in their basement. Only leaving to scout for supplies or if someone signaled for medical help. The back door of the house was left unlocked so that we could receive messages from others in the neighborhood. Who would have thought a laundry shoot would become our main line of communication. This is how I received pleas for help from neighbors who had injuries. If things outside were secure enough I would venture out with my backpack of surgical tools, and my trocar for protection from the dead. I was always accompanied by either Sheryl or Doug for protection from the living. People sometimes lost it if I couldn't help their loved one. If the person was bitten I automatically put them down. Stabbing the trocar straight into their brain via the occipital foramen (the hole that allows your spinal cord to connect to your brain).
Alcohol was what kept me going. Once my ration of medications I absolutely needed to function every day ran out I was glad that Doug had a well stocked bar. It wasn't as effective as my meds, but it at least dulled the pain. I learned to take a nip of anything from Crown Royal to grain alcohol. I was never much of a drinker before the world went to hell in a handbag, I'd have a glass of wine on holidays or a cocktail at a party, but that was it. I never got drunk, even when the pain seemed unbearable. I'd take a shot of whatever was available and try to meditate.
The collapse of civilization might not seem like the time to take up yoga or meditation, but in our bunker it was integral to our survival. It calmed Sheryl's and mines pain, anxiety, and depression. It calmed her older daughter Samantha's anxiety and ended many a crying spell. It helped her younger daughter Jessica, control her hyperactivity and focus in on what needed to be done. And Doug, well it's hard to tell with men, but the yoga definitely improved his balance and flexability, unfortunately neither meditation nor yoga could stop his snoring.:-)
We're all still in the basement bunker, but are venturing out more now that things seem to be improving, if only marginally. Cleaning up and burning those I and others have killed is a mentally and physically exhausting job, but it must be done if we want to start restoring our little corner of the world. I haven't had to kill any of the dead in a while now. Now I usually encounter only imobile zombies, those who are missing limbs or even half of their body. They are easier to kill, but I can't get it out of my mind that I used to be a caretaker of the dead and now I've become a killer of dead. Some day I hope to return to caretaker.