We speak with Germanwings´ Care Center many times again today, unfortunately with no result. We do find out that the date when the remains are to be returned has not yet been approved. Great! Tomorrow we travel to Düsseldorf for the second emergency pastoral care meeting for family members and have no idea how long we´ll be staying. Will the caskets arrive there in four days? Will we have to drive 500km home in the meantime? The Care Center staff repeatedly tell us that “an air transport from Düsseldorf to Leipzig is impossible.“ No reason given.
We have to ring the funeral home and explain that we don´t know anything. The staff member who is managing our case is friendly and straightforward. They will make arragements to collect Jens´s remains next week from North Rhein Westphalia. The funeral director is angry at how we´re being treated. She´s an experienced professional who has managed many similar cases but has never seen anything like this. She even contacted Germanwings but only got the runaround from them.
In the afternoon I go to the psychologist to read her my sadistic work. She gave me the go ahead to write a letter detailing what I would do to the co-pilot of Flight 4U9525 if he were still alive. Gleefully I hammer away at the keyboard. The result is a ferocious discourse that by far outdoes the French thriller author Jean-Christophe Grangé in its cruelty. To be on the safe side I tell Frau Blume I have a very dark soul that I prefer to hide as it could shock people. She said only that she worked with felons in the penal system and their crimes were reality.
Well, she asked for it. I emphasise the particularly awful parts with pleasure as I read.
Writing what I feel and reading it aloud helps lessen my rage at the co-pilot.
As soon as I get home an email pops up in my inbox.
“Dear Family Members,
The arrangements for the return of remains are temporarily on hold due to new official regulations. For this reason we regret that it will no longer be possible for the transfer to take place in the coming week. We will inform you of the new date as soon as possible. We are aware that you need some advance notice in order to plan your loved ones´ funerals. Additionally, we will inform the funeral homes you are working with of further plans.
Lufthansa Group on behalf of Germanwings“
We hit the roof and ring the funeral home. The funeral director is also quite upset. If we hear anything new over the weekend we can ring her any time. We are glad she´s so flexible and doesn´t throw in the towel.
About four hours later we receive notification from the lawyer that he will do everything he can to keep to the original dates (9-10 June). Three hours after that we hear from Steffen Rudolph, the ombudsman for relatives of the victims appointed by the German government, who writes:
“I have just received word from Robin, the prosecutor, that the remains can now be returned.“
Why all the chaos? Are they trying to make us lose our minds?
We decide to stay in North Rhein Westphalia after the family members´ meeting in Düsseldorf until the remains have been returned.
© Brigitte Voß / Translation: Ellen Rosenbaum