A death that was also a birth – Salon.com

A beautifully written piece.  So emotional.

To perform the Taharah when a woman has lived out her life, has seen her children grow and have their own children, seems part of the natural logic of life. The first Taharahs I took part in were just that. This next Taharah, however, involved someone who had not lived a long life, had not lived to see her children grow, and this time, I was to be alone.

The call stunned me. I knew she was sick, but this wasn’t expected. Now the mortuary was asking, could I be the one to take care of her? I had never before performed a Taharah on a baby. My experiences with babies were of life, not of death. There was always joy, a new beginning. Here was unimaginable sadness, an ending.

As I looked at the tiny garments, it became real, and I worried about how I would react. My mind remembered my nursing training, when we were doing a rotation in the NICU and how I just couldn’t bear to be with sick babies. All I could think about were my own babies and I had cried to my instructor, “Just get me out of here!” Now I was going to be with this fragile body, with this baby who was no longer sick, but was actually gone.

Continue reading A death that was also a birth – Salon.com.

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