Do a good deed and throw it in the river

Mrs. Sophia was already very sick when we wrote about her. She last visited Hanganak Office on December 19, 2019, an unexpectedly warm winter day. She loved to walk, and the day she could not resist and go out of the house to warm up in the sun and visit Hanganak. She knew that Dr. Lilya had been working since morning, so she dressed warmly and came to Hanganak right after breakfast. We were surprised by her visit. Mrs. Sophia had just been discharged from hospital, and at the age of 90, it was like a miracle.

– Лиля, а ты меня не послушаешь? (Lilya, could you listen to my lungs?) She always opened her mouth when she tried to listen to the interlocutor, as if trying to catch the words with her mouth.

Her main request every time she visited the office was to listen to her lungs. The doctor kindly accompanied Mrs. Sophia to her office.

When she left, the doctor said, “I wonder how she got to the office.” She had shortness of breath and shallow breathing. The consequences of widespread pneumonia had not yet passed…

She went home and lay down.

The four sisters lived in Baku. In 1988, when the Artsakh National Liberation Movement began, the three sisters were forced to leave everything and move to Yerevan and live in hostels for refugees, while her elder sister moved to Stepanakert with her family. After her sisters died, Sophia moved to Stepanakert of her elder sister, who needed care. As far as she can remember, Sophia took care of her relatives, first her parents, then her sisters, and now her elder sister and her husband, whose sons lived in Russia.

Both her sister and her husband died long ago. Sophia lived in their house. Two years ago, her sister’s eldest son, Petya, realizing it was their turn to take care of the old aunt, moved to Stepanakert. He taught at the Pedagogical University and assisted his aunt. They lived in peace and harmony until the point when Petya felt unwell. He went to Yerevan to be examined and returned depressed. He had to go to chemotherapy; the doctors’ predictions were not encouraging.

When Sophia was discharged from the hospital, Petya was in Yerevan for another course of treatment. But first he took care of his aunt; having agreed with the nurse on duty at night.

Aunt Sophia was the best aunt in the world for all the neighbors. They even set up an attendance schedule so that Aunt Sophia was not alone. Anna from the second floor was on duty on Mondays and Fridays, Ruzan on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Arega with her eldest daughter, Kisa – on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Caregiver Zina was amazed at the devotion of these women. On Sundays, when Zina was still with Sophia, everyone gathered to have tea with Aunt Sophia. Sophia was active in those days, she even got out of bed to put everything on the table with her own hands. However, she stopped getting out of bed and kept telling Zina what to put on the table.

Mrs. Sophia was often visited by the social workers of the organization, Yermonya and Esmira. It has been seven years since they became Sophia’s relatives. Like caring neighbors, Mrs. Sophia gave them a variety of activities, and most importantly, her food preferences of the day. Mrs. Sophia’s appetite was already very bad and she was eating, as Zina used to say, “the size of a bird”. However, she could wake up at night and call Zina: “Zinaaa, Zinaaa”, in the stillness of the night, her voice was so loud that Zina was running to her in panic, and she wanted to know if the sprats brought by the girls yesterday were still left for her for breakfast.

For several days, Mrs. Sophia’s heart wanted Napoleon pastry, Esmira called in the evening to find out what was needed for the next day, and Zina told her that she was not speaking very clearly, but it seemed that she had wanted Napoleon. The next day was Sunday, the girls knew the neighbors were also visiting Mrs. Sophia that day. Therefore, they bought the pastries, some sweets and went to Mrs. Sophia. The tea was already on the table, and the table was moved to Sophia’s bed. She was very happy with the pastry, even tasted it a little, and then asked Zina to give her the family photo album and carefully tried to browse it, she kept asking about Petya. Petya had died a few weeks ago. Everyone knew about it, but they carefully hid it from Mrs. Sophia. Then she got tired, put the album under her pillow and lay down and slept peacefully.

Mrs. Sophia did not wake up anymore. She ate her favorite pastry, said goodbye to her smiling relatives through the photos and went to join her very dear cousin…