How does one decently wait for someone to die? Particularly a man lionized and adored; who set an enlightened example of the remember-and-reconcile variety; a statesman who has become a symbol of hope and freedom around the world?
More particularly, how does one decently monitor the health of a critically ill, 94-year-old man? It would be unseemly to ignore Mr Mandela’s condition but equally, it seems ghoulish to hang around waiting on every medical bulletin, every respiratory tube that goes in and out of the hospital.
There is no guidebook on good form.
Though there is no comparison between Nelson Mandela and Ariel Sharon, the complete and utter silence surrounding his condition (he has been in a vegetative state for seven years) is a sort of living death.
There is no decent way to say good bye. Or worse, to know when is good bye.