Freedom, Home and All Kinds of Deaths

The dying woman had been barely breathing for weeks.

Her face blended in the perfect white of the cotton sheets, yet, every morning, the around the clock nurses, washed her and with care, applied lipstick on her otherwise cracked, expressionless lips. From a distance, it looked as if she vomited blood, but as one went closer, the illusion disappeared and was replaced by the reality of a perfectly contoured mouth.

Every morning, she opened her once beautiful blue eyes, looked around, and mumbled:

“Jesus, why am I still here?! Please, take me away!!!”

The process repeated over and over, until one morning her eyes stayed shut and the nurse didn’t paint her lips bright red. 

They all gave thanks to Jesus for having had mercy on her at last. He gave her the gift of a meaningful life and dignified death.


When I was five, or perhaps six, lacking adult supervision at home, many times, I played in the yard of the hospital where my mother performed eye-surgeries every Tuesday.

For a city girl, playing in dirt, smelling the wild flowers and watching the intricate lives of bugs I didn’t know existed, was an unimaginable treat!

These particular insects were everywhere. On the bright green grass, moving slowly, I noticed these red bugs spotted with red specs. They were called God’s Cows… Unquestionably, their name was Vaca Domnului (God’s Cow) for a reason. I never questioned why, as I never questioned the origins of my own name. It just was.

That first Tuesday I observed the insects in freedom. By the time Tuesday came again, I decided it would be better for them to be safe! Not imprisoned, but safe! I brought with me a jar filled it with a variety of grass, wild flowers and a few crumbs… may be they ate crumbs, or grass or both. I even gave them a few drops of water and observed them… a day, two, three… tick, tick, tick… the sound of a clock, or was it their heart echoing from the jar. Did they have a heart? Never asked myself at the time, but I knew their new life, in the mini-Paradise I created must have been much, much better than their life in freedom, where danger was everywhere!  

After a while, inside the safe home I had created, next to the adult black and red God’s cows, I noticed tens of  transparent insects the size of moving dots. A miracle! I was witnessing a miracle! By then, I carried the jar with me everywhere, it had become part of me.

That evening, I went to sleep early, so that I could wake up at sun raise and watch the miracle whose creation I had helped.

In the light of the morning,  the miniature “home,”  the mixture of green, black and red and the transparent moving  dots seem even more magical! I looked closer. And closer! I froze; I wanted to scream but no sounds came out.

I called my mom. She looked at the jar and matter of fact said:

“All the adult insects are dead. I don’t know about this type of insects, but it seems, once their “babies” are alive, the parents die. Their purpose was to procreate… to… continue the species. Their mission was done, they have no other purpose to exist. Hurry up now, I’ll be late for work,” she said and gently guided me to the door.

I wiped off my tears, and jar in hand, we hopped on the tram which took us to the hospital where my mom worked on Tuesdays.

“Don’t leave the hospital yard, you know that, right? It is dangerous out there!” She  walked slowly toward the main entrance, turned around  and said to me:

” … and empty the jar. They belong in freedom.”   

That was when I knew why they were named God’s caws. I felt better.