The punished body of my mother said “it´s enough” before the deadlines provided. The fever suddenly didn´t disappear, the blood pressure didn´t improve, a pain in the side. But how is possible! She was playing cards with her friends in the the afternoon!.

From the district hospital to the provincial hospital. From Ward to the ICU. Behind the stretcher, in procession through halls and waiting romos with open eyes  and the soul in suspense. Mom is dying. She looks at me. ” Be quiet mom, we will return at 12 to see you again”.

First visit. We come into the ICU two by two. She is ill, they do not manage to stabilize. We ask for not suffering. They will have in account, thanks. Mom still looks with her blue dark eyes. She speaks with difficulty, but she is conscious and requests us to take care of dad…”Sorry,  you have to leave”.

Second visit. Mom is very ill. Dying. She asks for water, but it is not possible to give it to her. We don’t know if she recognice us. It seems that at times identifies us, because she pressed the dad´s hand. She is very cold and soaked in sweat. The skin of her face, very attached to the bones… Now they speak with us in the room:

“Surely your mother will not survive this night.” If she succeeds, tomorrow she will pass to the ward so you could stay with her, but here you can not be. You have to go home. If  worse passes, we will call you. Thank you.”

Dad collapses on the sofa and Lidia embraces him. Back, the doctors leave us cry, saying until tomorrow and closing the door with key. I can hear the key that closes the door that separates me of my mother dying. Two turns. CIC-clac. We will not see alive her anymore.

From ICU out door, the four of us are going to the street to go home. From the door towards in, my mother dying, febrile and disoriented, surrounded of beeps and strange voices, to exhale the last breath. I find her window on the outside. “Mom, please survive, don’t die alone”.

How is possible they do not leave me with mom if they think she is going to die? We would have to stay with Mom! I can´t also understand it, dad. These are the rules.

Three hours later, they phone us.

It happened.

Someone has to do the sixty kilometres of return, to see her and bring clothes so they could wear mom. No one received me in the hospital. From emergency there is no signs. The hospital is in darkness. My wife and I managed to find the ICU and there, the body of mom is waiting us, dehydrated, with the open mouth, without teeth, naked inside a white bag . We can stay with her until they takes her to the morgue.

We were standing up twenty minutes, no options to sit down, with the curtain open throughout the room and the other boxes. I can see what others do, and others can see me. In the counter, two women with gown make notes while speak of  how silly  their teen daughters are and laugh quietly of their occurrences. In the background, a man and a woman trying with a patient to swallow something. The woman speaks as a clumsy son: “c’mon, c’mon, yes you can, if you could yesterday, today also”. In the next box, a huge man coughs and, while, the darkness of the death looms by the wrinkled mouth of my mother, their beautiful fingers, the peace of their eyes…

I want to take mom away, where she can recover her dignity.

By Pascual Gallego