Minga’s Death: A Last Journey

Minga went home in the care of her family on Friday night, never to leave again.

Lily was stalwart in going on Thursday to Hospital Dr. Arnulfo Arias to receive Minga’s body, along with her uncles Angel and Manuel. Lily said that she was comforted to see that Minga looked serene, and that her body still had its aura of strength.

My brother-in-law Paul is a physician, and when he called to express sympathy he suggested what likely happened to Minga on Tuesday morning. I’m one of those who likes to know; when Jerry died I took his autopsy report to all my friends who were doctors, asking “tell me what you think happened”. I did that until I was reasonably sure I knew what Jerry’s last moments were like.

Paul said that dialysis patients take meds to keep their blood de-coagulated, so that it doesn’t clot while going through the dialysis machine. Any significant cerebral event, like a stroke or aneurysm, creates a massive brain bleed that is simply not reversible or survivable. That fits with what Ana and Angel, the two at the hospital when Minga died, were told about the moments when she went into crisis in the dialysis chair.

Lily is in regular communication with me via WhatsApp. The family is beginning to pull together to give Minga the funeral she wanted. Her daughters wash and dress the body; Rufina already had the dress set aside. Minga will wear the beautiful new shoes. Minga wanted a white casket; she will have that. Her sons will dig the grave in the simple Rio Hato cemetery, Some there are buried in white stone sarcophagi, low to the ground, but Minga wanted to be in the earth. I’ll try to remember to take a pic when I go there in January.

The family hold vigil on Friday night, all night, and the funeral Mass and burial are Saturday morning.

Minga loved her home, loved the village, her family, her neighbors. She adjusted to living in the city under the tender and faithful care of her eldest daughter Ana, but Minga was never a city woman. Now she is home, never to leave again.

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