The parents of the children are tired, sad, and worried. The mothers keep a mostly silent vigil by the bedside. I see resignation in their faces. When I ask them if they have any questions, they hardly ever do. I asked Renaldo, my new interpreter, about a song I heard the mothers signing. The song is common he replied. The main lyric, repeated many times is, I don't need to worry because God is with me.
Today, to make a sad day of suffering so much worse, a mother dropped dead in the hospital. She was 15 years old. This was quickly a hospital-wide event. People congregated in the hallway to see what had happened. You could not walk in the hallways. Movement stopped much like highway traffic does when there is an accident to witness. Humans seem unique in our curiosity about injury and death. I presume this is because that while we understand our mortality, we do not know how this will present. Death is a compelling personal mystery.
People started to shout. Rumours circulated about the death. My interpreter wanted to share the gossip with me but I told him I did not need to know. Likely no one will really know what happened. Later, in the middle of the afternoon I passed her shrouded body. She was alone. At end-of-day rounds there was no one by the crib of the baby who lost her mother. I passed the shrouded mother again on my way out of the hospital, but this time she had a modest retinue of people with her.