Have you seen a person die? To know that someone you love will die because their time has come? It is surreal. All around they are people reading the Koran and vying with each other to outdo one another in their piousness in reading the words of God – sincere in their beliefs that if the word of God will not save her life – then at least it will give comfort and prepare her for the next life. You are struck at the absurdities of it all. At this stage of her life (near death !!) nothing said, read or prayed will make any difference as to whether she will go to heaven or to hell. That has been decided by the conduct of her life long before this precise hour(if you believe in all that)…and if she is concious at all and aware of what is happening around her – would not listening to the Koran being read around her fill her with dread because she knows that people around her have given up on her – and they are just waiting for her to draw her last breath?
Will the reading of the Koran be of any comfort to her? I do not think so because I can see fear in her eyes. If she has any conciousness of her situation at all, she will know that the reading of the Koran is a sure sign of hoplessness from those she is leaving behind and for her it is a sign of coming death. It would have been far better for her loved ones to be gathered around her, praying silently and giving her words of comfort as she slips in and out of conciouness. Sometimes she stirs and tries to draw a deep breath but to no avail – she is too weak. I look stoically at her and remember her kindness, her love and her affection for me and my family at all times given unconditionally. I wonder if I have done enough to let her know that I am grateful for all that – but I know it would not have mattered to her – she would have loved us anyhow.
You look for her children. They are in the room except for the oldest daughter who has taken the responsibility of being host and comforter to those about to be left behind when her mother passes away. There was much to do because her mother was much loved by everyone.
I wonder if there was time for a burial today if she passes away within the hour. It was late afternoon and there was still time if she leaves us now. And she did. Ahhh the futility of life .....