19 – 20 June 2015, Friday/Saturday – On nature, words and anonymity

I have to give myself credit because I manage to do some useful activities, although this doesn´t take away my sadness. I make the beds and clear out a wardrobe, picking out last year´s fashions which I stuff into a bag to take to the container. Then I sink into the couch, completely knackered.
The phone rings and it´s the funeral home director who tells us that the urn we wanted has arrived and we can come by to see it. We found it in an urn catalogue and quickly agreed on it.
We go to the funeral home as we want to examine the original before Jens´s funeral. We look at the image on the urn. The sea and sky shine bright blue. Footprints disturb the beige sand and disappear into the distance. Jens has left us but the footprints and water symbolise his passion for running and swimming. He loved nature very much.
We take a photo and send it to the family members who aren´t here. An “ok“ appears promptly on our smart phone.
Before leaving we speak to the staff for a while. I feel the urn at my back which will soon house our child. Muscles I didn´t know I had tighten up. It´s behind me. It hurts.
My husband takes the documents which the funeral home is having translated.
Our nerves need some fresh air so we decide to find a park and go for a walk. Damn. Everywhere I am, memory opens its doors and reminders surge upward with a vengeance. Sometimes I´d like to banish them as they torment me.
There are the trees with the thick trunks where I used to walk Jens in his pram so long ago. He saw the same trees with his child´s eyes, as well as the elephant slide made of concrete which has been there since GDR times. How he loved to slide down it as a small boy, shrieking with joy. This melancholy – these thoughts. It´s grim.
We go home and check the translation more carefully. Unfortunately something is wrong again. Instead of the words “Death Certificate“ it says “Deaht Certificate“. Typos can happen, but still …
We complain and the translator apologises about her mistake. She wants to send us the correct document as quickly as possible.
The obituary appears. I pick up the local city paper several times and am startled to see our son´s name. What is it doing on this page, surrounded by other obituaries? The further reason and emotion diverge, the more upsetting our helplessness is. Nevertheless, we wanted to have the obituary published. Family members tried to talk us out of it with arguments like “that´s old fashioned“ or “you´ll be giving up your anonymity.“ I can understand this as I´ve heard that 200 mourners showed up at the cemetery for one victim´s funeral. The thought scares me to death.
So far the media have left us alone because Jens lived in Düsseldorf. No one knew that his parents live in Saxony (apart from family and friends).
I´m furious at Lufthansa/Germanwings. The way they handled the return of Jen´s casket has caused us needless emotional distress (and in this particular situation).
It´s time to reach out to the public, which have been led to believe that everything has been organised on behalf of the families. This is unfortunately not completely true.
I´m convinced that interview requests will come in.
In the afternoon we go to Susi´s belated birthday party and she shows us her gifts which are on the table in front of us. She especially likes the accessories for her new road bike. She says sadly, “It´s a pity I can´t go on bike trips with Jens anymore now that I´ve got all the gear.“
I pull myself together at the party so I can at least participate a little in the conversations.
At night I toss and turn in bed and can´t sleep although I am completely exhausted. My chronic pain is acting up quite severely and my desolate mind is making it worse.
My thoughts are blacker than the sleepless nights.

© Brigitte Voß / Translation: Ellen Rosenbaum


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