The most painful thing, for me, is an empty room. It only happens occasionally: a room stays unoccupied for one or two days, never more. And without a patient, it becomes a dead person’s room.
I have a hard time walking into these empty rooms. They remind me not only of the last patient, but also of all the others who have passed on in that bed. All the deaths there have been between these walls.
Once I read this sentence in a book: “It’s not death but dead people that make us afraid.” It comes back to me every time there’s an empty room.
— Eduardo Berti trans. Daniel Levin Becker | “Adèle Blanqui, Internist” | An Ideal Presence | p. 95