“Being with someone, murmuring along with their heartbeat, breathing with them, is a lost art. The true midwives of birth and death, those who keep vigil at the bedposts, are rare. They are the people whose eyes are accustomed to darkness and light, who stand waiting by night and by dawn, holding cloaks and soft wrappings at the cross-roads and gateways; they stand at the threshold, at the breaking of paths, watching the lights, the rains and the winds, welcoming and farewelling our journeying souls. The price of such people is above rubies. No machines that go ‘ping’ can stand in their place. Yet so often that is all we have.”
– Anna Maria Dell’Oso (1989: 201).