Of Men and Death
“Come on Maria stay with me! God, don’t you take her from me or so help me I will wait for the day I meet you and when I do I will make you wish you had never risen from the dead. Now let her fucking go!” William is shouting with a cracked voice and watery eyes, and he is beginning to turn violent.
“Sir I must ask you to stand aside and let the nurses do their job! Sir! SIR!” The nurses weak attempts at calming a man as he loses his wife are as about effective as digging through a mountain side equipped with nothing but a small, silver spoon.
“Don’t you fucking tell me to stand aside god damn it, that’s my wife and she’s dying! You should be more worried about helping her than telling me to ‘stand aside’!”
“But you don’t understand! If we don’t do all that we can right now we could lose her and the baby as well! And right now you need to be out of the way while we try to save them both!”
William reluctantly gives up his position in the room and lets the hospital staff occupy the space surrounding Maria’s bed. He is helpless as he witnesses the life slowly drain from his lovers eyes while she continues to struggle to have the baby.
The next morning marks the first day of the new man William has become.
William looks down upon the limp and worn out figure that was Maria. She is pale and cold, yet appears peaceful and calm, and as a result she is also somehow beautiful in a way that only the recently deceased can look. The bed in which she rests is perfectly made with Maria tenderly tucked inside its white sheets and soft linen. She fought her way through the pain, commanding that her body not give out until the baby was brought into this world. She succeeded in just that, however that alone. It is a triumph she will never celebrate, as she passed the first few moments of the baby’s early life.
The room is small and bright, being filled with the warm, rejuvenating rays of sunshine that pass through the thin, glass windows. Yet there is still an unspeakable, eerie quality about the room, surely to be trance-inducing on visitors who dwell within its walls for too long. The grief feels more acute, the loss more heartwrenching because it is not veiled in the illusion of night. With daylight comes reality, and a realization that the horrors of the previous night are neither false nor remedied by the changing of night to day, as humans are accustomed.
Through this haze of unsettling conditions and eyes that shed tears that spot the floor, William gazes over his deceased beloved’s lifeless position, and as he cradles his newborn son, he feels a warm and familiar hand on his shoulder, the touch of a newly made angel, encouraging him to live for what he holds now in his arms and the promise of the future. He has a strange sensation that this is Maria who caresses his arm, standing with him, albeit not alone, as Death presides over them all, with an unflinching demeanor to human pain and torment in the name of his supernatural duty. In that moment, it’s as if time itself has come to a shrieking halt. This inexplicable, emotional mixture of terrible loss and joyous gain confuses William and taxes his mind and body, reducing him to nothing but the most mortal and fragile of beings. Death is unchanging and offers neither apology nor sympathy towards the broken human and the soul of the woman whom he leads away.
The previous night will forever haunt William; in his sleep as nightmares of the most horrid degree, in the daytime as he watches happy couples and bonded families pass by, or simply when he is sitting alone in the corner of his home, wrapped up in nothing but his thoughts, a shell of the man that Maria had loved and left, to brave the path of fatherhood alone, regardless of whether she wanted to stay or not. Sorrow is now what occupies Maria’s place when William lies down to sleep.
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