When I first met her she was sitting on a chair – ice cold, no breath and no pulse. Soon after, a nurse declared her dead.
I know nothing about rigor mortis, but thought, how will one get her body into a coffin if she is sitting up? I asked the restaurant manager if there were a private room where we can put her down. We moved her into the tiniest space and put her down on the floor.
Two weeks prior I attended a CPR course, and suddenly the presenter’s voice rang in my ears … ‘when you retrieve a child’s body from a swimming pool with no pulse or breathing, continue CPR until help arrives.’ I thought, well, let me give it a go, it can’t do any harm.
I pushed down hard on her fragile 89-year-old body, while counting rhythmically one, two, three, four … all the way to thirty. By now she looked so white she appeared almost see-through and angelic.
I bent down to breathe into her mouth, but refrained when I thought I felt a small exhale. I continued pushing down on her chest. (The presenter’s voice: ‘most important is to get blood to the brain’).
And then I saw it … a tiny purple frog jumping up and down in a vein on the side of her neck. I put my hand on her stomach and felt warmth, like liquid honey, washing through her body.
She opened her eyes. The bluest of blue gazed straight into my own, very surprised, eyes. I said: Tannie, what is your name? Rita, she replied. And your surname? Ackerman, she said.
Fok Tannie! Welkom terug … en aangename kennis.