怎样告诉一位母亲她的孩子死了

《纽约时报》刊登的一篇急诊医生写的佳作,字字简单,连在一起不简单。沉郁,真切。这种文风太值得我们学习了,哪怕把它翻译一遍,都有很大的收获。

原文链接:(How to Tell a Mother Her Child Is Dead – The New York Times

How to Tell a Mother Her Child Is Dead

By NAOMI ROSENBERGSEPT. 3, 2016

怎样告诉一位母亲她的孩子死了

作者:诺米·罗森伯格
译者:王佩

Philadelphia — First you get your coat. I don’t care if you don’t remember where you left it, you find it. If there was a lot of blood you ask someone to go quickly to the basement to get you a new set of scrubs. You put on your coat and you go into the bathroom. You look in the mirror and you say it. You use the mother’s name and you use her child’s name. You may not adjust this part in any way.

【发自费城】首先,找到你的大衣。我不管你记得不记得它放哪儿了,找到它。如果上面有大量血迹,就叫人快点到地下室拿套新的手术衣来。你穿上大衣,你走进洗手间。你看着镜子,你说出那句话。你称呼那位母亲的名字还有她孩子的名字。在任何情况下,这一部分都不可变更。

I will show you: If it were my mother you would say, “Mrs. Rosenberg. I have terrible, terrible news. Naomi died today.” You say it out loud until you can say it clearly and loudly. How loudly? Loudly enough. If it takes you fewer than five tries you are rushing it and you will not do it right. You take your time.

我演示给你:如果你告诉的人是我母亲,你要说,「罗森伯格太太,我有一个很坏很坏的消息。诺米今天死了。」说出来,清楚点,大声些。大到什么程度?大到足够大。如果练习不足五次,你就太着急了,你不会把这件事做好。你慢慢来。

After the bathroom you do nothing before you go to her. You don’t make a phone call, you do not talk to the medical student, you do not put in an order. You never make her wait. She is his mother.

走出洗手间,在见到她之前,你不做任何事。你不打电话,你不跟医学生交谈,你不下任何命令。你不能让她等。她是他的母亲。

When you get inside the room you will know who the mother is. Yes, I’m very sure. Shake her hand and tell her who you are. If there is time you shake everyone’s hand. Yes, you will know if there is time. You never stand. If there are no seats left, the couches have arms on them.

当你走进房间,你会知道谁是那位母亲。是的,我很清楚。跟她握手,告诉她你是谁。如果有时间,就跟每个人都握手。是的,你会知道有没有时间。你不站着,如果没有空座,沙发有扶手。

You will have to make a decision about whether you will ask what she already knows. If you were the one to call her and tell her that her son had been shot then you have already done part of it, but you have not done it yet. You are about to do it now. You never make her wait. She is his mother. Now you explode the world. Yes, you have to. You say something like: “Mrs. Booker. I have terrible, terrible news. Ernest died today.”

你需要做个决定是不是问她已经知道了。如果你给她打过电话,告诉她,她的儿子中枪了,那么,你已经说了一部分,但还没有说完全。你现在要说了。她是他的母亲。现在你要引爆世界。是的,你必须这样做。你大概会这样说:「布克太太,我有一个很坏很坏的消息。厄内斯特,他死了。」

You will not stand up. You may leave yourself in the heaviness of your breath or the racing of your pulse or the sight of your shoelaces on your shoe, but you will not stand up. You are here for her. She is his mother.

你不会站着。你可能会呼吸沉重,心跳急促,或者盯着自己的鞋带,但你不会站在那里。你来这里是为了她。她是他的母亲。

If the mother has another son with her and he has punched the wall or broken the chair, do not be worried. The one that punched the wall or broke the chair will be better than the one who looks down and refuses to cry. The one who punched the wall or broke the chair will be much easier than the sister who looks up and closes her eyes as they fill.

如果这位母亲还有另一个儿子陪伴,他会捶墙,砸椅子,不要担心。捶墙砸椅总比盯着地板、一声不哭强。这种情况总比他有个姐姐,抬起头又闭上泪眼更容易处理。

Security is already outside the room and when they hear the first loud noise they will know to come in. No, you will not have to tell them. They know about the family room in the emergency department in summer in North Philadelphia. It is all right. They will be kind. If the chair cannot be sat in again that is all right. We have money for new chairs every summer. If he does not break your chair you stay in your chair. If he does you find a new place to sit. You are here for the mother and you have more to do.

房间外的保安听到第一声巨响,会知道跑进来看。不,你不需要跟他们说什么。他们知道这是北费城的夏天,这里是急救室的家庭接见室。让它去,保安会很友善。如果那把椅子不能坐了,让它去。每年夏天,你都有购买新椅子的预算。如果他砸的不是你坐的椅子,你就继续坐着。如果砸的是你的,就换个新地方坐。你来这里是为了那位母亲,你还有更多的要做。

If she asks you, you will tell her what you know. You do not lie. But do not say he was murdered or he was killed. Yes, I know that he was, but that is not what you say. You say that he died; that is the part that you saw and that you know. When she asks if he felt any pain, you must be very careful. If he did not, you assure her quickly. If he did, you do not lie. But his pain is over now. Do not ever say he was lucky that he did not feel pain. He was not lucky. She is not lucky. Don’t make that face. The depth of the stupidity of the things you will say sometimes is unimaginable.

如果她问你,你会把所知道的告诉他。你不撒谎。但是不要说,他被谋杀或者杀害了。是的,我知道他是那样死的,但你不要那样说。你说,他死了,这是你所说的,也是你所知道的。当她问,他走的时候痛苦吗,你应当格外小心。如果他没有,你要立即告诉她。如果他有,你不撒谎,你说「痛苦都结束了。」不要说他没有经历痛苦,他很幸运。他不幸运。她也不幸运。不要做蠢表情。有些时候,你想象不到你说的话里蕴藏的愚蠢的深度。

Before you leave you break her heart one more time. “No, I’m so sorry, but you cannot see him. There are strict rules when a person dies this way and the police have to take him first. We cannot let you in. I’m so sorry.” You do not ever say “the body.” It is not a body. It is her son. You want to tell her that you know that he was hers. But she knows that and she does not need for you to tell her. Instead you tell her you will give her time and come back in case she has questions. More questions, or questions for the first time. If she has no questions you do not give her the answers to the questions she has not asked.

你离开之前,你要再把她的心撕碎一次。「不,我很抱歉,但是你现在不能见他。我们有严格规定,这样去世的人,警察要先带走。我们不能让你们进去,真的很对不起。」你不会说「遗体」。那不是遗体。那是她儿子。你想告诉她,你知道他曾经属于她。但是她知道这些,无需你啰嗦。你告诉她,你会给她时间,如果她有问题,你还会回来。更多的问题,或者就是第一次提出的问题。如果她没有问题要问,你就不需要给她那些没有被问起的问题的答案。

When you leave the room, do not yell at the medical student who has a question. When you get home, do not yell at your husband. If he left his socks on the floor again today, it is all right.

当你离开房间,不要对着问你问题的医学生嚷。当你回到家,不要对着你的丈夫嚷。如果他今天又把袜子丢在地板上,让它去。

Naomi Rosenberg is an emergency room doctor at Temple University Hospital.

诺米·罗森伯格是Temple大学医院的一位急诊室医生。

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