While Mike and I were on vacation in faraway Italy, Kathy and Pat brought their mother Jill
to Nicaragua to live after she had broken her hip… two weeks later we received notice that Jill died while taking a nap in the car with Sarah. They were waiting outside of the Lenin Fonseca Hospital, while Kathy was inside trying to get Jill an appointment.
Death here is a hands-on experience. Unlike the States, when someone dies here the bodies do not go automatically to the morgue or to a funeral home. Most families care for and bury the body of their loved ones themselves.
As the story over the next few days unfolded, our hearts were filled with gratitude for our friends. Penn, a friend visiting Pat from Pennsylvania, stayed with Pat until Sarah brought Kathy home with Jill’s body.
|Josefa & Jorge|
Jorge, the clinic’s full-time radiologist, and Josefa, the clinic’s administrator, walked Pat and Kathy through all the avenues of declaring the death, the paperwork, and finding a place to cremate the body. With Jorge and Josefa’s help, Sarah and Becca took care of the logistics while Kathy and Pat sat by their mother’s body until the funeral home came to take the body away.
Little Eibhlín and Orla wanted to come immediately to give their love to them because they also know of death.
The following day, Jenny, who works fighting the horrors in Honduras, came and visited and did a cleansing ceremony for Pat and Kathy. Another friend named Kathy, who was caring for her own mother’s health, brought finger foods for guests. Daniel, our son, drove Pat and Kathy to pick up the ashes.
Messages poured in from all over the world as many of us sent word out of Jill’s death. Sarah, Becca, Paul, Daniel, Joseph, and all the CDCA’s staff gave Kathy and Pat the space to grieve.
This is how most Nicaraguans deal with death… an outpouring of support and aid.
When I came home and thanked Rogelio, Jorge, and Josefa for their care, they looked at me strangely -- and not because of my terrible Spanish -- but because, as they said “of course, of course”… because - in other words - why would ANYONE do differently?