The strange death of a stranger

She was in her early 60s. But she looked perhaps 75, or more. She didn’t talk much. She didn’t do much. Could not walk. Her daughter lived with her, the two of them alone in a huge house. Her daughter fed her, bathed her, cleaned her. The daughter became the mother. She loved her, called her sweet names, put her head in her lap, sent her to sleep. At times, in the middle of the night, the real mother would sit up and start banging her head on the wall. At times she would try to eat the plate from which she was being fed. When you stopped her, she would bite and scratch you. Occasionally, she uttered a word. “Sorry,” “It’s ok.” People were not quite sure why she said it. Multiple strokes due to a genetic illness – they knew it. But those words fell impotent in front of the real human being and her suffering.

That was her. Those were the last two years of her life. Almost a vegetable, unaware of those around her, those caring for her, and perhaps those praying that she would die soon, so that she would be put out of all this pain. In the last days, she was unable to breath, oxygen being put into her lungs artificially. They needed more and more oxygen. At the final moment, there wasn’t enough of it. A life ended.

When she died, she had very few hair on her head. She weighed very little, perhaps 30 kg, perhaps a bit more. Her daughter could comfortably lift her in her arms. She had been reduced to a pale shadow of the vibrant, attractive, popular woman of her youth – who made public speeches and had members of the audience falling in love with her. “Her sins are being washed away,” the relatives commented on her suffering. Much better to be purified in this life than the next, the Sufis have said.

An absurd end to a life that left a deep mark on at least a few people. Were her sins really being cleansed? I don’t know. I don’t know what it all meant. I never met her, I never saw her. She lived in another city. Yet, I feel like I have lived it all.

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~ by tdcatss on December 18, 2013.

2 Responses to “The strange death of a stranger”

  1. wow

  2. seriously wow!

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