Saturday, October 08, 2005

I love you Zizi

I could barely recognize her. Her upper torso, face and hands swollen and all those tubes sticking out of her body. If the nurse had not told me that was her I would have think she was one of those old corpses you see at the Intensive Care Unit that seem empty carcasses not belonging to anybody. Ironically that’s what she was.

She felt so lonely on that cold, antiseptic room, full of monitors, blips and blinks that would break the silence to only accentuate her solitude.
The nurse tells us she can’t hear or see, as she floats in and out of an state of unconsciousness while her destroyed lungs fight to get the next breath of air out of the ventilator they have connected through her throat.
All those cables, and tubes make her look like an abandoned puppet, a rugged doll forgotten on a distant and dark corner of the attic, left there by a kid that has found a newer toy to play with.

For a moment I think we got the wrong patient. This broken body can’t be my Zizi, the smiling woman I remember, the woman who open her house for me and my wife when our life was hard and we only had a suitcase full of broken dreams and needed hopes. Then I look at her face, the small nose, the scars on her forehead she got on a car accident so many years ago, her curly raspy hair and olive Egyptian skin and my heart sinks in sorrow and despair. She looks so little.

I learned to cry long time ago when I came to this country, I left behind the "macho-bull" they feed me since I was a kid, and get to reconcile with my sensitive side. I have cried very often; not embarrassed to admit it, but I hardly remember a time I cried so deep, with such a profound pain coming out of my soul.

I didn’t cry for her physical pain; since she is under strong sedatives I hardly doubt she can feel anything. I didn’t cry because I felt sad about loosing her (although that hurts), I cried because she felt so lonely.
Regardless of how alone she has been since the dead of her late husband, not family to visit, no close friends to talk to, nothing can prepare you for the solitude one has to face when confronted with the final hours in this world.
I only can imagine how cold it must feel to look at the eyes of death while having a friendly hand to grab and give you “comfort” but I can’t barely grasp how cold must be when that hand does not exist.

Dear Zizi, there are so many things I never told you, there are so many “I love yous” I never said, I want to thank you for all your blessings and the time when your life crossed my path for now I know I will carry you forever.

My Zizi is dying in the cold room of a hospital in LA, the cancer eating her lungs. I don’t even know her real age.

Don’t wait to tell those you love, how much you love them, because tomorrow could be too late.

I love you Zizi.

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