In recent days, much has been said about inhuman deaths. In old people who are found, lifeless, at home, weeks, months, after death redeem them. In elderly people who die in hospitals.
But it is not inhuman to die in a hospital. Inhuman is to die without love. Love does not arise spontaneously, without seed, in approaching death. Love is a life project. Or we captivate others - and their love - throughout their lives or are not expected to be born in the hours before the agony.
And you do not love yourself less for letting one of us die in a hospital bed. There will be those who forsake their own life and death. There are those who pray old age, putting it into homes. There are those who cry out of old age, surrendering theirs to solitude. There are those who do not want to know about their old men in the same way that they did not want to know about them as young people. There are those who do not want to know about their old ones because there never were deep bonds, other than those that the blood imposes. There are those who do not want to know about their old ones because they were never a flower to be smelled. Some people do not know how to love. There are those who do not know how to become loved. Old age only makes lack of love more dramatic.
My experience speaks of love. In my family no one was left to die for helplessness. And I was born surrounded by grandparents and great-grandparents. Which means I've already lost many of my own. Some very early: my maternal grandmother, my mother. Many of my patients died in a hospital setting. If they died at home it would not have been better, nor less painful. Death is never easy, nor is it ever prepared. There are no manuals that fit us. There are no ideal solutions to death because life is not perfect. And so it is not so in the final chapter.
My mother surpassed expectations because she was a strong woman, because she was loved because she loved life. I'm sure of that. And because he had a doctor, a medical team, who never gave up on her. So that morning when he saw himself in the mirror and was aware of the yellow color with which he was, a sign of liver metastases, he wanted to go to the hospital. She knew this was the last trip she would make, alive. It was by her foot, my father led her. He also knew that the love of his life would never leave the hospital.
My mother knew that the hospital would be treated in the best way possible, by Dr. Leitão's team. And it was. It was cherished by all and had, we had, fortunate enough to be able to stay in a single room. The nutritionist went to her to ask her what she wanted to eat. And he did eat what he pleased. Even the bean rice. She was spoiled as much as anyone could be. And he had no pain. In a way, he said goodbye to us while he still had the skills. Then the after, there is no avoiding it. The pain of seeing who loves in agony. There is no escape from it. It always dies only because there is a time when communication is no longer possible. Even if we continue to talk to who we are about to see leave.
In the last days of my mother's life, our steps towards the hospital were no longer enthusiastic, and we began to stumble, as if weighed in the chest. We saw in the nurses' eyes the sadness, the sadness of seeing a woman who fought so hard and with whom they had been making friends, over the years. My mother felt at home there, in the Hospital S. Teotónio. She even said so. That's why I wanted to die there, without pain, without physical suffering. She also wanted to keep us from seeing her die in pain. I know it.
Love does not disappear with death.