A short work of fiction.
The chocolate was sweet but her thoughts were bitter. She was eating mechanically the food assembled on a plate at the buffet table filled with casseroles and desserts brought by caring neighbors and acquaintances of the deceased. Her mother was gone, passed from this life so unexpectedly. An unknown heart condition, it was said. But she knew better. The illness had come upon her mother as if it were a common cold with aches and a slight fever. In the midst of a global pandemic it had been a matter of course for her to be tested but each of the tests had returned negative results. Mom was just speaking with her by telephone on the morning of that fateful day, cheerfully making plans for a future visit, but by the evening she was dying alone in an isolation room with a machine attempting to force air into severely damaged lungs while the rest of her organs struggled to maintain function against the tide of internal destruction. And still, the authorities refused to admit the truth, that this woman, who had been a youthful and vital 60 year old just days before, could be a victim of the current crisis sweeping the entire world. The rich taste of chocolate began to register as her mind sought to emerge from the fog in which it had been drifting for days. A new thought occurred to the grieving daughter. What would be the best way to honor her mother’s legacy? Her resolve grew at that moment. Neither her loss, nor that of so many countless other families must be in vain. An advocate was born that day for the powerless, the helpless, the disenfranchised, for those who, even having taken all precautions themselves, would become victims to a system without empathy, to a selfish ignorance that refused to act responsibly for the sake of the community. Hope emerged from heartache that day.