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  • Tomorrow it will be three months.

    He was taken into intensive care at 9.00 p.m., and they called me in at 1.00 a.m. when they had to tube him up because his kidneys had stopped functioning. He was unconscious.

    They gowned me and even offered me a chair. Later, a large box of tissues appeared at my elbow.

    We had company. A lady who had just undergone liver transplant. A little girl who had had lung transplant, ten days before. Her whole tiny upper body was encased in a clear plastic-like sphere that looked like the inflatable balls I used to buy our sons to play with at the beach. I told him all about them. I told him stories about our crazy landlady there in Padova. I told him that his brother was on the train, was coming to be with him, all the way from Naples.

    He hung on in there. At every point five decrease on the monitor they would tilt the table ever so slightly ever more head downwards. There was still hope, you see. They wanted to prevent any more brain damage.

    And still they let me stay. I shall be forever grateful for that.

    At 1.45 p.m., they came and drew curtains round us. I had not even noticed them on their rails. They formed a cubicle, like the changing rooms in cheap boutiques.

    AR came up on the monitor. I asked the doctor, a fragile blonde who hardly came up to my waist, what that meant, why the numbers had disappeared. She reached up on tiptoe to put her hands on my shoulders, but she could not speak.

    I now know, thanks to, why we waited ten minutes, together, staring at those letters.

    AR; At Rest; cardiocirculatory death.

    They switched the machine off at 2 p.m. precisely, on 14th March, 2012.

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