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The death of my brother “Pepe”

I was only 4 years old, yet I strangely remember everything about this day as if it were yesterday. Pepe was 3 and we were very close. We played together every day. Our favorite game to play was ”Indians and cowboys”. We had the costumes for both “parts” and would frequently switch between playing cowboy and playing Indian.

On a dark winter day, my father went out, desperately looking for the neighborhood's doctor. Pepe had a fever of more than 40 degrees. My father returned together with the doctor and they climbed the 2 flights of stairs very fast to reach the room my brother was in. The doctor ordered my father to bring boiling water to prepare an infusion. While my father was in the kitchen boiling water, the doctor, who was very hot because he had run, opened the windows wide. The window was right behind my brother's bed. After a few minutes, my brother’s condition was getting worse, the fever did not go down. My parents then took him to an emergency hospital in a taxi.

Less than three hours later, doctors confirmed his death. When the doctors asked my father to explain all the details of what happened, they determined that Pepe’s death was due to fulminant pneumonia. This was caused by a stream of cold air in the hot environment my little brother was in, in combination with a high fever. My father says he is convinced that Pepito was aware that he was dying.

Because when my father still had him in his arms, Pepe began to say: Daddy, please don't forget to take care of my mom, my brother Gali (me), my grandmother, my aunt Zulmita, and so he continued mentioning the rest of the family. Suddenly my little brother began humming his favorite song, while he began to slowly close his eyes. At that moment my father could not bear the pain and gave the body to one of my uncles.

My little brother passed away in the arms of my uncle Jorge. This was a devastating tragedy for my parents and the entire family. It also taught me, especially observing my father, that life goes on and I must never give up, no matter what happens.

eRocha, Jan'20

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