7 April 2015, Tuesday – The Nightmare

°TWO WEEKS AFTER THE DISASTER°
In a nutshell, my nightmare goes like this: Our telephone rings. My husband thrusts his arm up and shouts, “The phone´s ringing!!”
Nothing unusual. But a strange reddish light cast its bloody shadow on the gray carpet. The polyphonic scream was distorted into both deep and high voices. My husband´s face morphed into a zombie´s creepy grimace and his arm grew to oversize proportions as he pointed at the ceiling.
It seems like it takes forever but I´m just starting to wake up when I scream. At some point I notice that my cries for help are silent. My entire body trembles and I´m bathed in sweat. I can hear my pulse racing in my ears. My heart is palpitating in my chest and feels like it´s being squeezed through a metal ring. I gasp. Pure anxiety has taken hold of me.
I find this reaction a bit extreme as this is not the first time we´ve heard bad news on the phone. I´m also unsettled by my reaction as I can´t control it. Thinking “I need a psychologist,” I ring my GP. Her voicemail tells me she´s on holiday.
Oh no! What do I do now? I think. I remember the business card which the emergency response psychologist from Düsseldorf gave me before the journey to Le Vernet. I dig through the pockets of various items of clothing until I finally find it.
“She´s a psychologist!”, part of me warns. “But she was nice and made a competent impression,” the other says. On the spur of the moment I pick up the phone. She answers and knows who I am. I describe what´s upsetting me and we talk for at least an hour. I manage to calm down. She´ll find a psychologist near me who can see me soon and will ring me back tomorrow. I am relieved.
We go to the registry office and have them issue an international birth certificate for Jens, which the French need for his death certificate. We hardly have to wait.
Then we roam through the department stores for some black clothing. There will be a memorial service at Cologne Cathedral for the crash victims on 17 April and we will definitely attend. Clothing for the deceased? For Jens? This can´t be real! I feel so detached! Did all this really happen?
I try on clothes and take them off again. I have nothing against black but the occasion saddens me deeply. Soon we´re so exhausted that we just go home.
At least the restaurant is great. I have to be careful because the scale says my weight is dropping fast. My build is slight but I´m not happy about the number of kilos, which starts with a 4. Who knows what reserves I may need?
In the evening I surf the internet and check the papers for news about the disaster:

The second black box from the Germanwings airbus, which was found last Thursday, has been analysed and confirms the theory that the co-pilot deliberately crashed the plane. Andreas Lubitz set the autopilot to descend to 100 feet (30 meters), according to the French air accident investigation agency BEA on Friday in Paris. During the flight he accelerated the speed of the descending aircraft several times. Work is continuing to establish the precise history of the flight. According to Brice Robin, the Marseille prosecutor, 42 heavily damaged mobile phones were found at the crash site. In the meantime 150 DNA profiles from 2285 DNA samples collected at the crash site have been isolated. The profiles have to be matched with the samples taken from family members and the work will take three to five weeks.

When can we bury our Jens?

© Brigitte Voß / Translation: Ellen Rosenbaum

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