The truth is perhaps there was very little anybody could have done. She died within minutes. The irony though is she lived next to a nurse, we were all home but her mother’s soft knocks on the door were inaudible. Why the hell didn’t she bang down our front door, we don’t know. It’s too late for that. We only found out something serious had happened when our tenant came by to pay the rent. She too knocked. Not loudly, but loud enough for us to hear. Loud enough is all you need.

When we opened the door we saw the ambulance and an official-looking white car. A man in plain clothes entered the house with ID hanging from a lanyard around his neck. I didn’t have a good feeling, and something told me it wasn’t the elderly lady I should be worried about. It was her middle-aged daughter whom we have never seen leaving the house. She was severely depressed and reclusive.

I was right. Her mother was upset but relatively calm as she told us that her daughter had a seizure and passed away. We felt dreadful that we were around all that time and R could have started chest compressions had we heard her gentle knocks. We tried to think what we were doing: the telly was turned on but the volume was low, I was cooking my lunch and R was feeding Lucien. So how on earth did we not hear anything?

The funeral director’s black Ford pulled up outside shortly after 3pm. I watched the same two men in black suits who came for my mother-in-law a year ago emerge from the vehicle and this time, headed for the house next door. I wondered who would they would be calling in next. If they came to us, would we be ready? Nobody is ever ready to meet an undertaker, I don’t think.

As it turns out, February is not a good month. My mother-in-law left us last February, it’s my auntie-in-law’s funeral today and my neighbour died on Monday. Whether or not one had time to bade goodbye or was taken suddenly, the outcome is always the same. They leave the living grieving.

No matter how prepared one is for death, there is always so much for the living to do. When do/should you start packing up his/her room? What do you do with the belongings? What do you do with the assets? What are the forms you need to fill in? Who are the people you need to inform?

Going is easy. It’s staying that’s hard.

She was only 46.

Explore posts in the same categories: Drama, Life

One Comment on “Death”

  1. Annabel Says:


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