A man in Palestine was not allowed to visit his mother in the hospital as she was quarantined. Before she passed away from Coronavirus, he climbed up to her window every night.
Jihad Al-Suwaiti lives in Palestine, where there are already over 9,000 cases of and 64 deaths owing to Coronavirus. Recognized officially as an occupied territory, the State of Palestine is terribly unprepared for a public health crisis; its hospitals are underserviced and its social benefits system basically non-existent. Needless to say, these are tragic times in the nation-state. For Jihad, who is 30 years old, it has been an especially difficult time. His aging mother Rasma Salama was diagnosed with the disease a few weeks earlier and on Thursday, succumbed to it. Every night that she spent in the hospital, he would climb up to her hospital window just to be in her presence as he was not allowed to visit her, according to Bored Panda.
Jihad’s brother Abang Jihad Rasmi told local media outlets that he was stubborn and refused to part with his mother. Nonetheless, he respected the hospital's rules. As the youngest child in the family, Jihad was incredibly close to his mom and, at first, could not accept that she had indeed passed away. "[Our] mother had leukemia and was diagnosed with Coronavirus a few weeks ago," his brother explained. "Now, [Jihad] seems to be able to accept the statement." Their mother's immune system would have already been weak due to her leukemia diagnosis. The hospital acknowledged this when apologizing for her death; they could not have done more to help her.
A hospital official witnessed Jihad's nightly visits. They stated, "He spent most of his day there, observing his mother’s condition from outside the window, before coming down when he was convinced that his mother was fast asleep." Since her passing, a heartbreaking image of Jihad sitting by his mom's hospital window has gone viral on the internet. For many, it has encapsulated the terrible tragedy of the ongoing pandemic. Like Jihad, many have lost their loved ones in the blink of an eye. One Twitter user posted in solidarity, "I could feel your loss, my brother Jihad Al-Suwaiti. May Allah bless your [late] mother. I'm a survivor too."
The son of a Palestinian woman who was infected with COVID-19 climbed up to her hospital room to sit and see his mother every night until she passed away. pic.twitter.com/31wCCNYPbs— Mohamad Safa (@mhdksafa) July 18, 2020
One illustrator chose to pay homage to Jihad's heartbreak in the sweetest way possible. Using her talents, she drew an illustration of the 30-year-old by a window. However, this time, his mother wasn't inside the hospital—she was beside him, floating right next to his shoulder, as an angel with wings. The illustrator, Safa Odah, simply wanted to depict the pain and grief of losing a loved one during the public health crisis and let Jihad know he would never be alone. At present, the number of cases in Palestine is still on the incline, and it doesn't show signs of dropping anytime soon.